Simple Stamped Pottery

Illustrated Specimens

Potsherds (second row from bottom), Vessel 11, and Vessel 34.

Sample Size

N=213 (including two vessel sections).


213 specimens from Occaneechi features, no specimens from Feature 30 (Haw River phase).


Method of Manufacture: Same as Fredricks Check Stamped. No examples of hand-modeled vessels were observed.

Temper: A majority of the simple-stamped sherds are tempered with fine sand (62.4%). Other tempers include medium-to-fine crushed quartz (25.4%) and fine crushed feldspar (12.2%). Most of the crushed quartz tempered sherds are from a single vessel (Vessel 11).

Texture: Even and moderately compact. Temper comprises about 10% to 25% of the paste.

Hardness: 2.5-3.5.

Color: Exterior surface color ranges from black (7.5YR 2/0) to very pale brown (10YR 8/4) to pink (7.5YR 8/2). Most sherds have generally light exteriors and black firing clouds are common. Interior surfaces also display the same range of colors.

Surface Finish (Exterior)

The exterior surface has been stamped with a carved wooden paddle containing a pattern of parallel lands and grooves. A majority of the sherds, including those from the two reconstructed vessel sections, display shallow stamping with lands and grooves aligned parallel or slightly oblique to the rim edge. This is the predominant method of stamping at other seventeenth-century Piedmont sites where simple stamping occurs (Davis 1987; Wilson 1983). Only a few sherds conform to the late prehistoric/protohistoric Hillsboro Simple Stamped type, where stamps are typically bold and are applied perpendicular to one another in order to produce a distinctive herringbone pattern.

Surface Finish (Interior)

Over 99.0% of all simple-stamped sherd interiors are uniformly smoothed. Neither vessel section displays any evidence of smudging or sooting.


Eighteen (51.4%) of the 35 simple-stamped rimsherds are decorated. Fourteen of these sherds, including those from Vessel 11, have V-shaped notches along the lip; one sherd is notched along the lip/rim edge; one possesses oblique incisions along the lip (similar to the mode of decoration observed for Fredricks Check Stamped); and two sherds with rim folds have circular reed punctations along the fold.

Form (click to see vessel profile)

Rim: A majority (74.3%) of the rims are simple everted. Other rim forms include everted and folded (5.7%), straight (8.6%), and indeterminate (11.4%).

Lip: Lip profiles are mostly straight-sided and flat (65.7%), followed by straight-sided and rounded (28.5%), thickened and flat (2.8%), and thickened and rounded (2.8%).

Body: Both vessel sections and most other rimsherds represent restricted jar forms.

Base: Rounded.

Thickness: 2-4 mm (7.0%), 4-6 mm (24.4%), 6-8 mm (43.2%), 8-10 mm (24.4%), >10 mm (0.9%).

Size: Only one vessel section (Vessel 11) and a large rimsherd (Vessel 34) were large enough to determine overall vessel size and morphology. Vessel 11, a large jar, is 27 cm in orifice diameter and about 32 cm in height while Vessel 34 is a small jar approximately 14 cm wide at the mouth. Although these data are limited, they appear to reflect a similar size distribution observed for Fredricks Check Stamped.


Simple-stamped sherds are only a minor constituent of the Fredricks site ceramic assemblage, comprising about 5.5% of the feature sherd sample. Given attribute frequency differences from Fredricks Plain and Fredricks Check Stamped related to temper type, rim form, and decoration, simple-stamped sherds are not included within the Fredricks ceramic series attributed to the Occaneechi. However, it is clear from the occurrence of at least two vessel sections within Occaneechi features that some simple-stamped jars were in use during the major occupation of the Fredricks site. It is suggested here, though by no means demonstrated, that these simple-stamped vessels may be of non-Occaneechi origin or at least manufactured by potters of a different ceramic tradition. Pottery with similar attributes have been recovered at the Mitchum site, a slightly earlier historic Indian village along the Haw River which is thought to have been occupied by the Sissipahaw (Davis 1987); and similar pottery also has been recovered from the nearby Jenrette site, a possible Shakori village of the late seventeenth century (Ward and Davis 1993).