Textile Marked Wares Overview

There is considerable overlap between this group and the paddle stamped wares in distribution, age, and paste characteristics, but the obvious surface treatment differences make this a logical criterion for sorting. The ware groups discussed below include types that have non-textile surface treatments, but the majority of the sherds assigned to these groups are textile marked.

The textile marking includes net, fabric, and cord. Major temper groups are grog and lithic. Grog tempered wares are discussed separately. Pastes range from fine and silty to coarse and sandy, with pebbles and crushed rock. The combinations of finish and paste variables is believed to be the key to validly sorting these wares, but the combinations can be bewildering, and because few sites are pure one component occupations, and all ceramics are usually found in the heavily bioturbated top 30-40cm of soil, they co-occur with only trends and tendencies standing out. This is especially true when the topsoil is not carefully excavated in levels and removed as a natural zone.

At the Kolb site Sean Taylor analyzed the sherds from a single 2x2m unit and identified eleven paste groups with 17 different variations of textile impressions- fine cord, heavy cord, cross marked, parallel marked, etc.. There were also three distinct Check Stamped paste groups, three Thoms Creek ware paste groups, and a fiber tempered group.

Textile Group 4, Check Stamp Group 3, and Thoms Creek Group 1 and 2, all share a paste that has a high density of fine to medium sand temper, and they are only found in the lowest level (of four) in the unit he analyzed, but Textile Group 11 - fine sand and grog tempered - is found in three levels - the top two and the lowest. In terms of surface treatments all levels were dominated by cord marked, Fabric impressed wares were present in every level too. We almost always find Thoms Creek and Stallings in the lowest pottery producing levels, but we also find textile marked wares in the same levels.

Textile Group 4 may be the equivalent of Coe's (1964) Badin type, which, because of its stratigraphic position he believed was early. He compared it to Thoms Creek in terms of paste. But if the only difference between Textile Group 3 and Group 4 is that it has a low density temper of fine to coarse sand instead of a high density of fine to medium sand, accurately and consistently sorting the two will be a problem. Microscopic examination on a sherd by sherd basis may be effective, but the labor involved may make this a question that few will consider worth the effort. And, if G4 is Badin, what is G3? Is there a valid difference at the cultural or individual potter level, or is it a random element such as the clay source that affects the sand density? Also, if G4 is Badin here, are all cord marked wares with that paste Badin? Do similar wares found on the Savannah date to the same time and represent the products of the same, or closely related groups, or is it a factor of the limited combination of ingredients that went into the paste and decoration recipe?

Textile marking has been called "the Northern tradition" since the 19th century (Holmes 1903), and indeed, it is much more dominant in the north than it is to the south and west. But this does not mean that there is no textile marking in the south and west- Dunlap, Cartersville and others appear to be coeval with Deptford and they are found throughout Georgia. As seen atMinim Island, cord marked and fabric impressed sherds had pastes identical to Check Stamped Deptford wares, leading to the conclusion that they were in fact Deptford. But in North Carolina, where check stamping is less common, the same ware is called "Deep Creek" which Joe Herbert argues is the same thing as "New River" (Herbert 2003). Deptford cord marked has been identified in Beaufort County repeatedly (see Trinkley ed. 1989; Brooks 1982). Chester DePratter's "Chatham County Cord Marked" with its "compact paste containing an abundance of coarse grit" (DePratter 1991: 179) sounds a lot like "Deptford" and was found in context with Deptford and Wilmington.

When the differences between types are so subtle, and type definitions are so broad, it is difficult to state that a given cord marked, sand tempered sherd is one type or another with any confidence. With textile marked wares the consideration of context is essential. Though most sites that we find have been plowed, logged and bedded, or otherwise disturbed, we should pay close attention to stratigraphy and try to obtain empirical dates where possible.

The type names used for textile marked wares by researchers in the state are introduced below. As Joel Gunn (1995) put it, whether these are valid or not is not the question. These are the definitions people have applied, and it is our task to interpret them and assess them for use in our own work. Thus if we see that an out of state researcher has come in and for the first time ever identified wares as "Cartersville Check Stamped" we must assume they mean its a coarse sand (or "grit") tempered ware that is the local equivalent of Deptford.


Dunlap (Jennings and Fairbanks 1940). This is a fabric impressed ware found in North Georgia. The vessel walls are thin. The thread of the fabric is heavy.

Mossy Oak (Wauchope 1966). This is a name that is no longer in use. It was originally thought to be an early ware. A simple stamped variant was thought to equate to simple stamped Deptford, but subsequent work found that it actually dated after 1000AD. Mark Williams suggests this be re-named to Vining Simple Stamped. A cord marked variant was identified by Wauchope that did not carry over to the Vining series, but Williams recommends that the name not be used. He does not suggest what to call the cord marked variant however.

White Oak (Loftfield 1976). Joe Herbert has folded this into his Townsend series. The type appears to be the same as South's Oak Island and Phelps' Colington.