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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Colono Indian Ware

Colono Indian Ware
Colono Indian Ware
Colono Indian Ware
Colono Indian Ware
Colono Indian Ware
Colono Indian Ware
Period: European Contact
Defining Attributes: Colono Indian Ware is a clayey-paste, shelltempered, plainsurface pottery that displays European vessel shapes.
Chronology: Colono-Indian Ware dates from the last quarter of the 17th century to the first quarter of the 19th century.
Distribution: Although the ware was first recovered from English colonial sites in the vicinity of Williamsburg, the ware is now known to occur more widely on the Rappahannock and York rivers and their tributaries and along the James River from Hopewell to Virginia Beach. The ware has been found as far south as Southampton County and as far north as the Camden Site (44CE0003) along the Rappahannock River.
Description:
Paste/Temper: Colono-Indian ware is tempered with crushed shell.
Surface Treatment: The exterior, and commonly interior surfaces, are plain and burnished.
Decoration: None known.
Morpholopgy: European influences can be seen in the forms of vessels which were manufactured, which are invariably flat-bottomed. Simple bowls and pans of various sizes are the predominant vessel forms, but jars, plates, chamber pots and handled and three-legged forms of cups, porringers, pipkins, and cauldrons are also common.
Discussion: Colono Indian Ware is one sub-type of ‘Colonoware’ found in Virginia. Colonoware is a broad ceramic category that refers to any of several low-fired, locally-made earthenwares of the colonial period in America which may display physical or formal attributes characteristic of European, Native American, or African ceramics, in various combinations. Noel Hume believed Colono Indian Ware was produced by Native Americans on the Pamunkey Indian Reservation, and the ware is indeed abundant in archaeological contexts within the current reservation boundaries. He saw the ware as evolving out of the prehistoric Sussex Plain type (Evans 1955). There is also a close resemblance between Colono Indian Ware and ceramics collected from the Pamunkey and Mataponi Indians during the early 19th century and later accessioned into the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. Binford (1965) report a similar ceramics from Southampton County and called it Warekeck Ware. He associated the ware with the Weanock town of Warekeck occupied between 1653 and 1666. Another example of Colonoware was found in the Piedmont by MacCord at the historic ‘Buffaloe’ Plantation Site (44PE0001, see image). Also, a Colonoware vessel is in the DHR collection from a historic plantation in Patrick County (see image).
Defined in the Literature: Colono Indian Ware was defined by Ivor Noel Hume in 1962 to describe a type of colonial pottery recovered from American colonial contexts, beginning in the last quarter of the 17th century, in the vicinity of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.
References: Binford 1965; Evan 1955; Noel Hume 1962;
Prepared By: Egloff 2008

Updated February 6, 2020