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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Mockley Ware

Mockley Ware
Mockley Ware
Mockley Ware
Mockley Ware
Mockley Ware
Mockley Ware
Period: Middle Woodland
Defining Attributes: Mockley is a Middle Woodland ware, characterized by crushed shelltempering and net-impressed or cord-marked exterior surfaces, a clayey texture, and medium to large vessels.
Chronology: Stratigraphic sequences and radiometric dating indicate that Mockley dates mainly from 200 to 900 CE. But, it may date as early as 800 BCE. Three radiometer dates were gotten by Painter (1978) from charcoal and bone from the Currituck Site, North Carolina. The dates range from 810 to 660 BCE. These dates were associated with shelltempered flat-bottom beaker-shaped vessels that looked just like Mockley Ware except for their flat bottoms.
Distribution: Mockley is found commonly in the Coastal Plain in Delaware south to both banks of the James River and down to Virginia Beach in Virginia. Small amounts of Mockley have been reported from rockshelter sites in the Piedmont and Great Valley regions of Maryland. Dan Mouer found a few sherds along the James River on Sabot Island, Goochland County, 20 miles west of the fall line.
Paste/Temper: The paste consists of a medium-fine clay. The texture is normally clayey and soft. However, examples of a sandy past variety of Mockley occurs in Virginia Beach, especially at 44VB0007, the Great Neck Site. Here the sandy paste may be fine, less than 1 mm, or medium 1.5 to 2.5 mm (Hodges 1998). Mockley vessels are tempered with coarsely crushed shell. Temper size varies from very fine to 5 mm thick. The shell tempering comprises 20 to 30 percent of the paste. Frequently the temper has been leached out, leaving flat angular holes of varying sizes. Surface colors range from reddish rust to reddish-tan to black through light brown or tan.
Surface Treatment: Exterior surfaces are usually net impressed or cord marked, and less frequently smoothed over. Net impressions resulted from malleation with loose, open knotted textiles. The knot spacing ranges from 2 to 6 mm apart. Some looped net has been identified at 44VB0007. Cord marking was produced with a cord-wrapped paddle. Impressions are oriented vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and occasionally in criss-cross patterns, or various combinations. Stephenson et al. (1963:106) note that cord marking was made with medium to coarse cordage that was loosely wrapped around a paddle at intervals of 3 to 10 mm. Hodges (1998) noted a few sherds at 44VB0007 that were an open-weave, weft-twined fabric. Interior surfaces are usually smoothed, but totally scraped, or smoothed-over scraped treatments have been reported.
Decoration: Mockley Ware is generally undecorated but occasionally the area below the rim was smoothed over and decorated. Crude, broad-line incised chevrons, diamonds, cross-hatches, or parallel lines, some filled with punctations, have been recorded (Egloff and Potter 1982:103). Decorated Mockley is thought to date late within the time range
Vessel Form: Mockley vessels are coil constructed with paddle-malleated surfaces. Bodies are hemispherical to conoidal or straight sided from the rim to the midpoint, and taper toward the base.
Vessel Diameter: Sherds and vessel sections suggest diameters of 20 to 35 cm.
Vessel Height: Vessels are 20 to 40 cm in height.
Rim Form: Lips are usually rounded or wedge shaped. Rims are vertical or slightly flaring, but inverted and everted forms have been found. Occasionally a pouring spout occurs.
Base Form: Bases are rounded or semiconical. Early forms of Mockley, especially on the Outer Coastal Plain, exhibit flat bottoms and would be considered part of Painter’s (1977, 1978) earlier Beaker Ware.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Rims are 6 to 10 mm thick. Bases are 10 to 19 mm thick. Vessel wall thickness varies from 8 to 11 mm.
Discussion: Mockley defines the Middle Woodland Period on the Outer Coastal Plain of Virginia. Also, it can occur commonly on the Interior Coastal Plain, but very rarely along the Nottoway & Meherrin rivers in southern Virginia. Mockley appears to be a common circum-Chesapeake Bay ware.
Defined in the Literature: Evans (1955) defined three pottery types that were identical to Mockley: Chickahominy Cord Marked, Potts Net Impressed, and Potts Roughened (Egloff and Potter 1982:103). Stephenson et al. (1963: 105), however, was the first to formally establish the name Mockley, based on pottery recovered from the Accokeek Creek Site (18PR8) in Prince Georges County, Maryland. He divided the ware into three types: Mockley Cord Marked, Mockley Net Impressed, and Mockley Plain.
References: Egloff and Potter 1982; Evans 1955; Griffith 1982; Hodges 1998; Stephenson et al. 1963.;
Prepared By: Egloff 2007

Updated February 6, 2020