Uwharrie Net Impressed

Illustrated Specimens

Potsherds (top row, second row left), Vessel 1, and Vessel 17.

Sample Size

N=397 (including two vessel sections).


326 specimens from Occaneechi features, 71 specimens from Feature 30 (Haw River phase).


Method of Manufacture: Preparation of a basal disk, with the addition of thin annular clay strips that were welded together using a paddle-and-anvil technique.

Temper: Sherds are tempered predominantly with coarse or fine sand (69.4%), followed by medium crushed quartz (13.2%), fine crushed quartz (9.2%), coarse crushed quartz (4.5%), crushed feldspar (1.8%), and mixed quartz and feldspar (1.8%). A proportionately greater number of sherds with coarse crushed quartz temper, mostly representing a single vessel, were recovered from Feature 30.

Texture: Rough, gritty, and compact.

Hardness: 2.5-3.5.

Color: Both exterior and interior surfaces usually have the same color and range from dark brown (7.5YR 4/4) to yellowish red (5YR 5/6).

Surface Finish (Exterior)

The exterior surface has been stamped with a net-wrapped paddle. Both plain looped and knotted nets are represented; however, no attempt was made to determine specific net types on individual sherds.

Surface Finish (Interior)

Of the 347 sherds that could be classified as to interior surface finish, 92.8% were scraped with a serrated tool. The remainder have smoothed interiors.


Decoration of Uwharrie Net Impressed vessels was common and occurred along the lip, neck, and shoulder. Twelve (46.2%) of the 26 rimsherds in the sample have V-shaped notches along the lip or lip/rim edge. The next most common method of decoration, observed on seven sherds, is the placement of fingernail or fingertip punctations along the neck. Other decorations include incising along the shoulder (n=3), smoothing of the rim (n=1), short perpendicular incisions along the neck (n=1), and parallel brushed bands along the neck.


Rim: All identifiable rimsherds in the sample are everted.

Lip: Twenty-two (84.6%) of the 26 rimsherds have rounded lips; the remaining four are flattened.

Body: Sub-conoidal jars.

Base: Conoidal.

Thickness: Net-impressed sherds are generally thicker than Fredricks Plain and Fredricks Check Stamped sherds. Sherd thickness distribution is as follows: 2-4 mm (0.3%), 4-6 mm (4.5%), 6-8 mm (48.9%), 8-10 mm (38.9), >10 mm (6.3%), and Indeterminate (1.1%).

Size: Only two large rimsherds (Vessels 1 and 17) provide information about vessel size. Both apparently represent sub-conoidal jars with orifice diameters of 16 cm and 22 cm, respectively.


The Uwharrie Net Impressed type, while never formally defined, was used by Coe (1952:307-308) to describe the pottery associated with his Uwharrie Focus, a late prehistoric culture complex in piedmont North Carolina. Radiocarbon dates from both the Fredricks site and the nearby Hogue site place the use of this pottery type in the Eno Valley at about A.D. 1000. Areally, this type is widespread and occurs throughout much of piedmont North Carolina and southern Virginia. Its temporal range also appears extensive when compared to other pottery types recognized for the Late Prehistoric and Historic periods.

In an earlier analysis of pottery from the Fredricks site, it was concluded that the net-impressed pottery (described here) probably also predated the site's historic Occaneechi occupation since most sherds from features had eroded edges and differed significantly from the other ceramics in terms of most technological and stylistic attributes (Davis 1987). This conclusion was substantiated by the discovery of Feature 30, which contained an abundance of net impressed pottery (including fitting sherds) in the absence of either European trade artifacts or Fredricks Series pottery. Whereas Uwharrie Net Impressed sherds made up only 8.5% of the sample from Occaneechi features, they comprised 87.7% of all sherds from Feature 30.