Trend and tradition in South Appalachian carved paddle stamps


The nature of Swift Creek design style has been a research focus of the lead authors for a number of years. In this poster, we broaden the discussion to include the full range of carved paddles, originally identified by W. H. Holmes as integral to the South Appalachian pottery tradition. Within the context of the stylistic principles of Swift Creek, as previously defined, we chart paddle stamping from its earliest beginnings ca 600 BC to the ethnographic present. Our concerns include establishing the emergence of Swift Creek out of the visually modest, but geographically more expansive, carved simple and check stamped paddles, to the timing of the de-evolution of the design style into a limited number of core elements with no complex elaboration by ca AD 800. We delineate the characteristics that set peripheral (e.g., Pickwick Complicated Stamped) and subsequent (e.g., Etowah Complicated Stamped) styles apart from the style at its most complex. We also offer ideas for the persistence of this multi-millennia long paddle carving tradition and specific changes observed therein.

Cite this Record

Trend and tradition in South Appalachian carved paddle stamps. Karen Smith, Vernon J. Knight, Jr., Julie G. Markin, Keith Stephenson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429563)

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designs Pottery Style

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southeast

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16811