Defining Attributes: Connestee Ware is a Middle Woodland fine-sandtempered ceramics with simple-stamped, cord, brushed, plain, and checked-stamped surface treatments, and occasional flat-based tetrapodal supports.
Chronology: The accepted range for the ceramics is 100 to 600 CE. Work by McIlhany (1983) at 44RU0044 has identified Connestee Simple Stamped (or brushed), Connestee Plain, and Connestee Cord Marked sherds from a context associated with cut mica (a mineral not native to southwest Virginia), polyhedral cores and blades, and radiocarbon dates of 515 +/-560 BCE, 180 +/-115 CE, and 410 +/-80 CE.
Distribution: Connestee Ware is found in southwest Virginia along the Powell and Clinch River drainages. The ware was identified from Holland’s (1970) surface collections at 44LE0014, and 44LE0017, at 44RU0044, and at 44LE0076 (DHR collection).
Description: Paste/Temper: Connestee Ware temper is a very fine to medium-sized rounded sand composing 15 to 30 percent of the paste. Surface Treatment: Surface treatments include simple stamped, cord, brushed, check stamped, and plain. Simple stamped grooves averaged 2.6 mm wide. The cord impressions are normally a two ply narrow cord, 2 mm in diameter. Brushed marks range from .2 to 1.5 mm. The overall impression of surface treatment on Connestee Ware is of thin linear impressions.
Decoration: Decorations are rare but include circular punctates and incisions below the rim.
Morpholopgy: Vessel Form: Connestee Ware vessels are coil constructed with paddle malleation. Conoidal jars, hemispherical bowls, and flat-based jars with tetrapodal supports are common forms. Vessel Diameter: Conoidal jars, rim diameter, 12 to 40 cm, and bowls 9 to 30 cm. Vessel Height: Conoidal jars height to 45 cm, bowls 10 to 20 cm Rim Form: Lips are rounded, flattened and chamfered. Rims are most often flaring, but straight and incurved rims are present. Base Form: Bases are conical, rounded, and flat. Flat-based jars had appliqued or modeled tetrapodal supports. Vessel Wall Thickness: Body sherds appear thin and averaged 5.8 mm thick with a range of 3 to 10 mm. Basal thickness ranged from 3 to 11 mm with a mean of 6.9 mm.
Discussion: Connestee Ware has relationships to wares in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee and North Carolina. The association of Connestee Ware in Virginia with polyhedral cores and blades, and cut mica shows the ware’s far-flung relationships with the Hopewell Culture to the north and cultures in northern Alabama and Georgia. This illustrates that the mountains of southwest Virginia did not constitute a formidable obstacle to cultural interaction but that the confluence of the New and Tennessee rivers created a pathway for north-south cultural trade as early as 1,800 years ago. Connestee Ware is often associated with Wright Check Stamped, Bluff Creek Simple Stamped, and Mulberry Creek Plain, (closely associated in Virginia and probably representing the same ware), and illustrate the Southern Appalachian Tradition, further demonstrating an intrusive expression of ceramics that entered southwest Virginia during the period 100 to 600 CE.
Defined in the Literature: Connestee Ware was first defined by Holden (1966) and later by Keel (1976:247-255) in western North Carolina. Work by McIlhany (1983) at 44RU0044 was the first to identify Connestee Ware in Virginia.
References: Egloff 1987; Holden 1966; Keel 1976; McIlhany 1983;