Paste/Temper: In what is perhaps the most often used definition Stephenson et al. (1963: 115) states: “Temper is predominately of angular crushed quartz with occasional inclusions of other crushed, hard rock or coarse sand. Temper particles are 1 to 4 mm in diameter, but usually about 2 mm. A minority of sherds is tempered with coarse to medium sand but with small amounts of crushed quartz.” In the 44ST0002 sample, rounded to sub-angular grit alone or in combination with a fine to medium grained sand rather than crushed quartz predominated. This generally agrees with descriptions in Schmitt’s 1942 analysis (Stewart 1992: 40) which referred to “coarse” and “fine” gravel. Coarse gravel was defined as “quartz gravel apparently obtained from the beach of Potomac Creek.” with particles ranging in size from 1 to 7 mm (Stewart 1992:40). The rounded to subangular grit particles are consistent with the coarse grained portion of river sand. Fine gravel was defined as a variation of coarse gravel with particles sizes running consistently smaller (due to crushing of larger particles) with an average size of 1 mm or smaller (Stewart 1992: 40).
Surface Treatment: The original definition of Potomac Creek Ware included two types: Potomac Creek Cord Impressed and Potomac Creek Plain (Stephenson et al 1963:113). The primary characteristics defined for Potomac Creek Cord Impressed were corded decoration (for which it was named) and cord-marked surface treatment. It is noted that “Decoration is always present.” on Potomac Creek Cord Impressed sherds. Potomac Creek Plain was defined as having plain or smoothed surfaces with little or no decoration. Stephen Potter (1993) redefines the cord-impressed variety as Potomac Creek Cord Marked based on its surface treatment. This new designation is more useful because decoration is usually restricted to rim sherds, and some vessels are not decorated at all. The surface treatment most prevalent in the sample from 44ST0002 was cord marked (71.4 percent), followed by smoothed-over (23 percent), and plain (5.6 percent). Smoothed surfaces often contained roughened areas which probably represent residual cord marking. Cord marking and smoothed surfaces encompassed sherds of all temper types and were most often associated with sand and grit and grit tempers. Plain sherds also fell into all temper categories, however over 50 percent of the plain sherds were found to have little or no temper.
Vessel Form: Of the four basic vessel forms recognized, jars are by far the most common, followed in frequency by miniature vessels and bowls in similar proportions, and then by beakers (deep conoidal vessels). Jar forms with their constricted necks are commonly regarded as vessels for storing liquids, but they can also be useful in cooking. These are the vessels that tend to have cord-marked surfaces and grit tempering. Schmitt (1965) and Stephenson et al. (1963) commented decades ago on the common occurrence of miniature vessels. Most of these vessels fit into the Moyaone category. They show a range of forms that include jars, bowls, and ladles, and always are less than 10 cm in diameter.
Vessel Diameter: A plot of rim diameters shows that jars tend to be the largest vessels in use. Most have orifice diameters 20 to 30 cm, but another, less common group, is even larger (30 to 40 cm). Bowls tend to be smaller than jars, with most having orifice diameters of less than 20 cm, but not smaller than 15 cm.
Vessel Height: Jar depths range from 13 to 30 cm, but are usually 20 to 25 cm.
Rim Form: Rims are predominantly flared, forming a constricted neck. Rarely are rims straight or slightly inverted. An extra band of clay is applied to product a thickened rim from 1 to 3 times the body thickness.
Base Form: Rounded bases.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Relatively thin. Thickness usually ranges from 4 to 7 mm, except for the artificial rim thickening. Vessels of sandier temper range from 6 to 10 mm in thickness.