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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Page Ware

Page Ware
Page Ware
Page Ware
Page Ware
Period: Late Woodland
Defining Attributes: Page is an early Late Woodland ware, characterized by limestone temper and a cord-marked exterior surface, often with an added strip or pseudo-collar around the rim. Decorative techniques include cord-wrapped stick impressions or incising on the lip and rim exterior, and rarely lugs or castellations.
Chronology: Stratigraphic sequences and radiometric dating indicate that Page dates from 900 to 1600 CE.
Distribution: Page Ware ceramics are found in the western Piedmont region and west through the Great Valley, Ridge and Valley, and Appalachian Plateau regions of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Virginia it is found in the northern Shenandoah Valley, south to Bath and Botetourt counties. A few sherds have been noted as far south as the New River from a rockshelter in Giles County.
Description:
Paste/Temper: The paste is fairly compact. The texture is medium-fine to medium-coarse and clayey. Exterior surface colors range from buff to reddish-tan. The temper consists of crushed limestone that varies from 1 mm to 2.5 mm thick, and makes up 25 percent of the paste. Page sherds frequently have square or rectangular holes where the tempering agent has leached out. A small percentage of sherds are tempered with chert or other crushed rock. A number of the Page sherds from the Friendsville site (18GA23) were tempered with crushed hematite.
Surface Treatment: Exterior surfaces are cord marked, or have smoothed-over cord impressions that are oriented vertically or, less commonly, obliquely to the body. Final Z-twist cordage impressions are found almost exclusively. A small number of vessels exhibit fabric impressions. Interior surfaces are smoothed. Whyte and Thompson (1989) recorded sherds with net impressions at the Bessemer site (44BO0026 ) that had collared rims typical of Page ware. Bowden noticed the same rim sherds occurring at the Gala site (44BO0048). This is the only known occurrence of this blending of attributes and supports the concept that the Gala/Bessemer James River valley represents a transition zone not only between the Radford and Page ceramic areas, but also Dan River ceramics.
Decoration: Oblique slashes at the rim/vessel body juncture are the primary decoration. A few rim sherds exhibit signs of criss-cross incising or punctations.
Morpholopgy:
Vessel Form: Page vessels are mainly coil constructed, but hand-modeled vessels have been found in rare instances. Vessel size ranges from small to large, and vessels are conoidal, globular/rounded, or conoidal/globular in shape.
Vessel Diameter: Unknown
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Lips vary from flat to slightly rounded. Rims range from vertical to slightly flaring. Rim strips are added to some vessels to form a pseudo-collar. Uncollared rims have thickened lips, which are often folded over.
Base Form: Rounded bases.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Vessel wall thickness ranges from 6 mm to 8 mm.
Discussion: Bowden (2003) firmly separates Radford from Page ceramics in his discussion of the Gala site (44BO0048) along the James River. The majority of the ceramics at the Gala and the Bessamer Site, immediately to the south, are Page with 15 percent Dan River. Page ceramics predominates along the upper James River drainage north of Gala and Dan River ceramics predominate south of the Bessemer site in Botetourt County along the James River at the Lauderdate and Lipes sites. Bowden described this area along the James River as a transition zone between Dan River culture to the south and Page culture to the north. Bowden also discusses the Iroquian or Owascoid influences on the Page, Shepard, and Potomac Creek wares of northern Virginia, generally explained by migration/replacement theories, exchange/trade theories, or general diffusion of ideas through social processes.
Defined in the Literature: Page Ware was first defined from sherds recovered at the Keyser Farm site (44PA0001) in Page County, Virginia (Manson et al. 1944:402-405). Franklin (1979) defined the Mason Island type in her M.A. thesis on the Mason Island site, 18MO13, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mason Island Ware is identical to Page and this site lies at the eastern edge of the Page ceramic distribution. Stewart (1982:82) later noted that Page was also identical to the Nolands Ferry Ware described by Peck (1979) from the Monocacy River region. Somerset Plateau (Pennsylvania) limestonetempered Monongahela wares represented at the Gnagey site are also very similar to Page ceramics (George 1983). Some researchers have linked Page Ware with Radford Ware described by Evans (1955). Egloff and Hodges (1989) noted that Radford Ware contains cord, net, corn cob, and plain surface treatments and does not have collared rims, and therefore is not similar to Page ceramics.
References: Egloff and Hodges 1989; Curry and Kavanagh 1991; Franklin 1979; Geier 1985; George 1983; Manson et al. 1944; Stewart 1982; Wall 1989, 2001;
Prepared By: Egloff 2008

Updated February 6, 2020