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Abstract

We describe the development of an open-access database for Swift Creek Complicated Stamped ceramics, a type of pottery common to Georgia, eastern Alabama, and northern Florida in the Middle and Late Woodland periods between ca. cal A.D. 100 and 800. The characteristic stamped designs on Swift Creek pottery, created by impressing a carved paddle into a clay vessel before firing, provide unique signatures that enable archaeologists to identify paddle matches—multiple vessels, sometimes hundreds of kilometers apart, stamped with a single paddle. These paddle matches potentially allow archaeologists to trace social interactions across hundreds of kilometers with high spatial and temporal resolution. To date, however, this potential has been hindered by the limited accessibility and fragmented nature of the dataset of reconstructed designs. The database we describe integrates paddle designs with other pertinent data for identifying paddle matches and their context, including the results of sourcing and technofunctional analyses and absolute dating. We view this database not only as a critical component of our own research, but also as a platform for collaboration among researchers that will facilitate broad syntheses of the region.

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... For example, Fig. 4 illustrates a partially reconstructed design from a carved wooden paddle and sherds bearing its impression found at Kolomoki and Garden Patch, sites separated by a straight-line distance of 275 km; neutron activation analysis indicates the vessel from Garden Patch was made in the vicinity of Kolomoki. More broadly, the frequency of long-distance connections indicated by paddle matches suggests longstanding and deeply entrenched connections among communities in the region (Pluckhahn and Wallis 2017;Wallis 2011Wallis , 2015Wallis et al. 2016), the kind of ties that may have facilitated the later migrations of individuals, families, and other small groups (Anthony 1990, pp. 899-901) from communities in the south to those in the north. ...
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A unique dataset for studying past social interactions comes from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery that linked sites throughout much of the Eastern Woodlands but that was primarily distributed over the lower Southeast. Although connections have been demonstrated, their significance has remained enigmatic. How and why were apparently utilitarian vessels, or the wooden tools used to make them, distributed widely across the landscape? This book assesses Woodland Period interactions using technofunctional, mineralogical, and chemical data derived from Swift Creek Complicated Stamped sherds whose provenience is fully documented from both mortuary mounds and village middens along the Atlantic coast. Together, these data demonstrate formal and functional differences between mortuary and village assemblages along with the nearly exclusive occurrence of foreign-made cooking pots in mortuary contexts. The Swift Creek Gift provides insight into the unique workings of gift exchanges to transform seemingly mundane materials like cooking pots into powerful tools of commemoration, affiliation, and ownership. © 2011 by The University of Alabama Press. All rights reserved.
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Eighty-one whole and partial vessels recovered from domestic structures and burial contexts at two Barnett phase sites in northwestern Georgia have been analyzed for evidence of surface alteration resulting from use. Three types of use alteration found on these vessels—sooting, oxidation discoloration and interior surface pitting—are described, and the processes by which they were produced are identified. The associations that exist between types of surface alteration and the morphological vessel types characteristic of the Barnett phase vessel assemblage are described and interpreted. Because these types of surface alteration are the result of actual vessel usage, they are a source of reliable evidence for identifying the function of individual vessels and of morphological vessel types.
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