Paste/Temper: New River Ware is tempered with crushed mussel shell and occasionally gastropod shell with particles ranging from fine flakes to large chunks 6 to 8 mm in length. Occasionally some of the gastropod shell tempered pottery will also have crushed limestone included as temper.
Surface Treatment: New River Ware as originally defined had net, cord, fabric and plain surface treatments. Except for temper this ware was said to be quite comparable to Radford Ware. Fabric-impressed ceramics should not be considered a type within New River Ware. Evans tabulated three sherds and Holland only two sherds from southwest Virginia that were shell tempered and fabric impressed. A related shelltempered type, Keyser Cord Marked, found in the Shenandoah Valley was included in the original ware description. Keyser Ware is cord marked only, probably related to cultures located further to the north in western Pennsylvania, and should not be considered part of New River Ware. Recently, corn cob marked sherds were recognized as occurring very late in time from small jars. On larger jars and storage vessels, corn cob impression may occur on their recurved necks, normally over either cord or net surface treatment.
Vessel Form: New River Ware vessels are coil constructed with paddle malleation. Round jar with globular body are common.
Vessel Diameter: Orifice smaller than the body diameter which ranged from 24 to 36 cm
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Rounded or flat top with round edges; recurved or vertical; occasionally a slight external thickening
Base Form: Rounded, usually slightly thickened
Vessel Wall Thickness: Range from 5 to 10 mm. Majority 7 to 8 mm.