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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Nomini Ware

Period: Middle Woodland
Defining Attributes: Nomini Ware, dating from 700 to 900 CE, consists of two types, Nomini Cord Marked and Nomini Fabric Impressed. The undecorated vessels were probably large, conical, with direct rims and flattened lips. Temper consists of particles of rounded quartz averaging 2 mm in diameter.
Chronology: Five components contained Nomini and Mockley wares at White Oak Point. Two of the components were radiometrically dated to 860 and 880 CE. Based upon stratigraphy and the radiometric dates, all five components were occupied between 700 and 900 CE (Egloff and Potter 1982:106).
Distribution: Nomini Ware has been observed in collections from New Kent, Caroline, Westmoreland, Northumberland, and Lancaster counties.
Description:
Paste/Temper: Nomini Ware is tempered with rounded quartz pebbles ranging in size from 1 to 8 mm. Temper normally is 2 mm in size and comprises 10 to 20 percent of the paste. The plastic is compact, fine-grained clay and the texture is clayey and smooth to the touch. Exterior surfaces range from reddish brown to black. The smoothed interior surfaces are generally gray or black, as are the cores. Vessels were fired in an inverted position, creating a reducing atmosphere inside the pots.
Surface Treatment: The exterior surface of Nomini Ware was shaped with a fabric- or cord-wrapped paddle. The fabric is a spaced weft-twined fabric. The cord is S-twist, and the paddle impressions were applied vertically or slightly diagonally to the rim. Egloff has noted a large number of knotted-net-impressed sherds from the Martin Farm Site (44NK0001) that fit the Nomini Ware definition (Owen 1969). These sherds were associated with Nomini Cord Mark type.
Decoration: No decoration.
Morpholopgy:
Vessel Form: Excavated vessel portions are too incomplete to give information on vessel shape and size. Vessels are probably large, based on rim curvatures.
Vessel Diameter: Unknown
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Rims are direct and lips were flattened with the paddle.
Base Form: Bases are rounded.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Thickness of the vessel walls range from 4 to 7 mm with bases from 8 to 12 mm.
Discussion: Other than the original discussion by Waselkov and Potter, this ware has been discussed rarely in the archaeological literature. Egloff noted thousands of Nomini Cord Mark sherds from the Martin Farm Site (44NK0001). Associated with the cord-marked sherds, however, were an equal number of net-impressed sherds, along with a few hundred Mockley Cord and Mockley Net ceramics. There were no fabric-impressed Nomini sherds from the Martin Farm Site. Waselkov and Potter defined Nomini from ten vessels: seven fabric-marked vessels (88 sherds) and three cord-marked vessels (62 sherds). The evidence from the Martin Farm Site suggests that net-impressed vessels are a valid type within Nomini Ware, and that the ware overlaps in time with late Mockley Ware. Also, the consistent lack of decoration places the ware in the late Middle Woodland Period.
Defined in the Literature: Gregory A. Waselkov defined Nomini Ware in 1982 based on excavations at the White Oak Point Site (44WM0119) in Westmoreland County (Waselkov 1982:291-293).
References: Egloff and Potter 1982; Owen 1969; Waselkov 1982;
Prepared By: Egloff 2009

Updated February 6, 2020