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Multi-Element Characterization of Early Nineteenth Century Pottery Sherds from Native American and Euro-American Sites

Author(s): Mark Schurr ; Antonio Simonetti ; Patrick Donohue

Year: 2015

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Summary

Fine earthenwares imported from England are a distinctive type of artifact frequently found on early nineteenth century Native American and Euro-American sites. Relatively rapid changes in decorative motifs and technologies can easily be identified by eye and provide information about site chronology and economic status. However, visual analyses of sherds usually can usually provide only general information because of the fragmentary nature of most assemblages. For example, transfer printed pottery can be dated and assigned to a specific manufacturer if the pattern name can be identified, but sherds are usually too fragmentary for such identifications. We present data about the chemical composition of sherds from two sites occupied during the first half of the nineteenth century: Pokagon Village, a Native American site (southwestern Michigan); and Collier Lodge, a Euro-American site (northwestern Indiana). Multi-element compositions determined by electron microscopy, micro X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF), and laser-ablation-inductively coupled mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) show that sherds with the same decorative methods from the two sites have different chemical compositions, indicating that different manufactures produced the pottery, and that manufacturing compositions changed over time. We show that multi-element characterization has the potential to produce new information about manufacturing sources, technology, and dating from very small sherds.

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Multi-Element Characterization of Early Nineteenth Century Pottery Sherds from Native American and Euro-American Sites. Mark Schurr, Patrick Donohue, Antonio Simonetti. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397431)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America