tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

The Mystery of the Red Ceramics: Understanding a Unique Assemblage of Coarse Earthenware c.1680-1740

Author(s): Sarah Stroud Clarke

Year: 2014

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


When European colonists began to expand beyond their initial fortifications at Charles Town landing, a community of early plantations was established along the Ashley River. The land that would later become Drayton Hall plantation was inhabited as early as 1680 and the archaeological remains relating to this occupation represent some of the earliest European domestic material culture in the area. During the last quarter of the seventeenth century and the first quarter of the eighteenth, the residents of the Ashley River region maintained close cultural and economic ties to the Caribbean and this is especially true of Barbados. Within the pre-Drayton contexts, a unique assemblage of burnished ‘red’ ceramics was recovered with possible links to the Caribbean. The ceramics are unusual in that they appear to be coarse earthenwares, but are highly fired and many appear to be skillfully burnished. This paper will examine the possible Caribbean provenance of these ceramics through the use of chemical analysis to further our understanding of the economic and cultural ties that exist between early colonial South Carolina and the sugar islands to the south.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

The Mystery of the Red Ceramics: Understanding a Unique Assemblage of Coarse Earthenware c.1680-1740. Sarah Stroud Clarke. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437179)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-63,04

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