Mulberry Creek Plain Ware
Period: Middle Woodland
Defining Attributes: Wright Check Stamped, Bluff Creek Simple Stamped, and Mulberry Creek Plain are considered for this discussion types of the same Middle Woodland ware that is thick, limestonetempered, and exhibit check stamped, simple stamped, and plain surface treatments.
Chronology: In the Pickwick Basin northern Alabama, the types seemed associated with the Copena cultural complex (Haag 1942:509-526). Wright Check Stamped Ware was found at Daugherty’s Cave (44RU0014), associated with a radiometric date of 322+/- 70 CE (Benthall 1979).
Distribution: Wright Check Stamped Type was excavated at Daugherty’s Cave. The type has been noted from two rockshelters in Wise County, 44WS0024 (Rogers), and 44WS0085 (DHR collection), from 44LE0076 (DHR collection), and from 44RU0044 (McIlhany). Bluff Creek Simple Stamped Type was identified at two sites from Holland’s (1970) collection (44RU0002 and 44WS0001), McIlhany’s (1983:32-35) excavation at 44RU0044, and Rogers (1982:22) work at 44WS0024. Mulberry Creek Plain Type was excavated at Daugherty’s Cave. McIlhany may have identified this type from 44RU0044.
Paste/Temper: The paste has a clayey texture. Temper is abundant, ca. 30 percent. Rather large pieces of crushed limestone to dolomite are used as temper. Firing colors range from light tan to gray-tan on exterior and interior surfaces.
Surface Treatment: Exterior surfaces are either impressed with a paddle carved with a check pattern or a simple linear pattern. Occasionally the surface of the pottery was left plain. The size of the check grid ranges from 1.5 to 6 mm. Stamping on some sherds is smoothed over.
Vessel Form: Unknown
Vessel Diameter: Unknown
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Lips are normally rounded or flat topped. Rims are most often straight to the body of the vessel, but may be slightly flaring.
Base Form: Conoidal or subconoidal forms occur. Tetrapodal bases have been noted on the Wright Check Stamped Type.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Walls appear thick, partly due to the large size and abundance of pieces of limestone temper. Wall thickness ranges from 5 to 10 mm.
Discussion: Wright check Stamped, Bluff Creek Simple Stamped, and Mulberry Creek Plain, (closely associated in Virginia and probably represent the same ware), and Connestee Ware, illustrate the Southern Appalachian Tradition, demonstrating an intrusive expression of ceramics that entered southwest Virginia during the period 100 to 600 CE. This period is seen as being highly dynamic with cultural turbulence reaching even the hinterland of southwest Virginia. Local people undoubted were heavily influenced by ceramic traits coming up the Tennessee River drainage. Long Branch Fabric Marked Ware, a similarly limestonetempered ware, dates slightly earlier than these wares and should be considered separately. Also, Candy Creek Ware, a limestonetempered cord-marked ceramic, found in the same general region during the Middle Woodland Period, occurs slightly later in time. Therefore, it should not be considered with these types as part of this ware.
Defined in the Literature: Wright Check Stamped, Bluff Creek Simple Stamped, and Mulberry Creek Plain wares were first defined by Haag (1939) from pottery found in the Pickwick Basin (1942) in northern Alabama. Since the wares are all limestone tempered and closely associated in their original definition in Alabama, and since they occur together in southwest Virginia, they are presented together for this discussion. The wares were first recognized in Virginia by Benthall at Daugherty’s Care (44RU0014).
References: Benthall (1979); Egloff (1987); Haag (1939, 1942); Holland’s (1970); Lafferty (1981); McIlhany (1983); Rogers (19820.;
Prepared By: Egloff 2008
Updated: February 6, 2020