Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Stony Creek Ware

Stony Creek Ware
Stony Creek Ware
Period: Middle Woodland
Defining Attributes: Stony Creek Ware is noted by its medium to large sand temper in a sandy paste, mainly wide wicker-fabric and cord-marked surface treatment, and lack of decoration.
Chronology: Although there are no radiocarbon dates, Stony Creek Ware probably ranges in age from 800 BCE to 200 CE.
Distribution: Stony Creek Ware is restricted to the interior Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginia in the vicinity of the town of Stony Creek where early sandtempered, conoidal vessels exhibiting all three major surface treatments–cord, fabric and rarely net–are found (Egloff and Potter 1982).
Description:
Paste/Temper: The paste is medium to large sand temper, gritty and sandy in texture.
Surface Treatment: The surface treatment is either a wide wicker-fabric, cord or net (Binford 1964). In Evans original work, documenting collections in the Stony Creek area, and in the DHR study collection, there is very little net. As originally defined the ware included plain, simple-stamped, incised, and scraped surface treatments. These surface treatments rarely occur in the Stony Creek area and when they do, are probably associated with a later time period.
Decoration: Decoration and appendages do not exist.
Morpholopgy:
Vessel Form: Stony Creek ware contains conoidal-shaped vessels made from coiling. Deep, open bowls and tall jar forms are common. The rims are vertical to the body.
Vessel Diameter: Vessels are moderately large, ranging in diameter from 24 to 40 cm; majority 28 to 34 cm,
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Flat-top lips with rounded edges
Base Form: Conoidal to subconoidal bases.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Thickness ranges from 4 to 12 mm; majority 5 to 6 mm.
Discussion: As originally defined, the series included plain, simple-stamped, incised, and scraped surface treatments (Evans 1955). Evans grouped these types together solely because of somewhat similar paste qualities. The ware should be restricted to the Interior Coastal Plain south of the James River where fabric, cord and some net surface treatments occur. The Stony Creek Ware has close associations with Popes Creek wares described in the Potomac River Valley. The accepted temporal range for Popes Creek ware is 500 BCE to 200 CE. Mouer defined the localized Chesterfield and Varina wares for the region south and east of Richmond. These wares are similar to Stony Creek Ware. In North Carolina similar material was collected from the Roanoke Rapids Basin and was referred to as the Vincent and Clements series (Coe 1964). Recently the Vincent and Clements series have been assigned to the Early and Middle Woodland periods (Phelps 1980).
Defined in the Literature: Evans (1955) first defined the ware mainly from sites in the Stony Creek area along the Nottoway River, Virginia. Unfortunately, he continued to apply the term to early sandtempered pottery from other locations in Virginia.
References: Binford 1964; Egloff and Potter 1982; Evans 1955; Phelps 1980;
Prepared By: Egloff 2009

Updated February 6, 2020