Clay Resource Variability and Stallings Pottery Provenance along the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers

Author(s): Zackary Gilmore; Kenneth Sassaman

Year: 2018


An understanding of the raw materials available to ancient potters is essential to archaeological considerations of vessel production and provenance. Consequently, the collection and analysis of raw clay samples has become a common component of such studies. This poster presents the results of compositional analyses of clays from along the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers in Georgia and South Carolina via petrographic point-counting and neutron activation analysis (NAA). These analyses were conducted as part of a larger project focused on reconstructing the ceramic social geography of Late Archaic Stallings societies, makers of North America’s oldest pottery technology. While multiple studies have demonstrated the feasibility of geochemical sourcing in other parts of the American Southeast, this is the first such investigation centered in the Savannah River Valley and the first systematic attempt to determine the provenance of Stallings vessels. Our results show that clear patterned differences in the mineralogy and chemistry of clay resources exist both between Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers and along the length of the Savannah. These data suggest a high potential for not only distinguishing between local and nonlocal vessels but also determining the direction (i.e., upriver versus downriver) of pottery movement.

Cite this Record

Clay Resource Variability and Stallings Pottery Provenance along the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers. Zackary Gilmore, Kenneth Sassaman. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445099)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22179