Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Yeocomico Ware

Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Yeocomico Ware
Period: European Contact
Defining Attributes: Yeocomico Ware, a sixteenth and seventeenth century pottery, is represented by three types: Yeocomico Plain, Yeocomico Scraped and Yeocomico Cord-Marked. Vessels are medium-sized bowls, globular jars or small cups. The silty, compact paste is tempered with shell. Exterior surfaces show evidence of being smoothed over, scraped with a tool, or malleated with a cord-wrapped paddle. Decorations are horizontal, vertical or oblique lines, or horizontal cord impressions below the rim.
Chronology: Six uncorrected radiometric dates from wood charcoal found at Blue Fish Beach (44NB0147) and White Oak Point (44WM0119) place this ware between 1510 to 1690 CE (Potter 1982:123).
Distribution: Yeocomico Ware has been noted from sites along the lower Potomac River, including Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert counties, Maryland, and Westmoreland, Northumberland and Lancaster counties, Virginia. The ware could possible extend further south along the Exterior Coastal Plain of Virginia.
Description:
Paste/Temper: Yeocomico Ware has moderately compact, silty clay past. The crushed oyster shell temper varies from fine particles to fragments 9 mm in diameter. Temper normally is 1 to 2 mm in size and comprises 15 to 20 percent of the paste. The vessels tend to be brown, with some areas a light tan to orange.
Surface Treatment: The exterior surfaces of Yeocomico Ware are either smoothed over, scraped with a tool, or malleated with a cord-wrapped paddle.
Decoration: The rare decorations consists of horizontal, vertical, or oblique lines, or horizontal cord-impressions below the exterior of the rim
Morpholopgy:
Vessel Form: Vessel forms include cups, medium size bowls,
Vessel Diameter: Cups range from 8 to 10 cm in diameter, medium sized bowls and globular jars 15 to 23 cm in diameter.
Vessel Height: Unknown
Rim Form: Lips are slightly thinned and usually rounded, but sometimes flattened.
Base Form: Rounded or semi-conical bases.
Vessel Wall Thickness: Vessel thickness is generally thin, ranging from 4 to 7 mm.
Discussion: Evans described similar material as types within the Chickahominy Series: Sussex Plain, and Potts Scraped (Evans 1955:47-49). Potter explained: ‘It is currently known that the Chickahominy Series represents at least 1500 years of shelltempering tradition in coastal Virginia. Therefore, with the temporal data now available for the thin, plain and scraped ceramics, it seemed advisable to define a separate late precontact and early European Contact ware by separating the plain and scraped pottery types from the Chickahominy Series’ (Egloff & Potter 1982:114). Yeocomico Ware overlaps with and is superseded by Colono Indian Ware.
Defined in the Literature: Stephen R. Potter and Gregory A. Waselkov defined Yeocomico Ware in 1982 based on survey and excavations conducted over a period of years. Their work concentrated in the Coan River area of Northumberland County and on Nomini Bay in Westmoreland County (Potter 1982:376-379).
References: Egloff and Potter 1982; Evans 1955; Potter 1982; Waselkov 1982;
Prepared By: Egloff 2009

Updated February 6, 2020