Charles Redwine on Muscogee Pottery

Guest entry! Charles Redwine treats us to some really good finds porn with commentary: 17th and 18th century native American pottery from Kasita/Cusseta near Columbus, Georgia in the US. Unfortunately, Charles found out that there was some problem with the publication rights to the pix, so he asked me to remove them from the entry on 31 December.

Chattahoochee Roughened Ware: large jar

The town of Kasita was, at least as referenced in some sources, the “White” or “Peace” capital of the Lower Creek people from the early 17th century to their expulsion from Georgia in 1827-28. The Lower Creek were the part of the Creek Confederacy located along the mid- to lower Chattahoochee River at the border of Georgia and Alabama. The name “Creek” was given to them by whites and today they prefer Muscogee Nation as their designated name. Another term, I believe more accurate and authentic, is “Muscogulge”.

Chattahoochee Roughened Ware: small jar

The location of the town changed over time but, as town names were for the people, not the location, it was always known as Kasita. The longest-term occupation for the town was on a large expanse of river terrace land that the Army would later use for an airfield on the Georgia side of the Chattahoochee.

Kasita Red Filmed Ware: top, swastika vessel; below, sherd with bird head

The three main pottery types of the Lawson Field phase (1715-1828), the time unit designation that is used to describe the later-period Lower Chattahoochee Muscogulge people, are:

  • Chattahoochee Roughened, sand or grit tempered, usually utilitarian jars

  • Lamar Incised, finer sand tempered, most often constricted-rim bowls (or cazuelas)
  • Kasita Red Filmed, in a variety of shapes but at this site in this time period often oval constricted rim bowls.

Chattahoochee Roughened originated in the late 17th century when coarse sand or grit temper was substituted for the shell temper of the 17th century Walnut Roughened type. (No shell-tempered sherds were found at my previous employers’ excavation on a small part of the Lawson Army Airfield). It was usually surface-treated using a brush, probably made up of grass or some such plant material.

Lamar Incised Ware

Lamar Incised goes back a fair distance into prehistory. It was made as early as AD 1400 across a wide expanse of the south Appalachian and adjacent region. The Creeks largely stopped making it in the early 1800s.

Kasita Red Filmed Ware: top, with part of bird and zig-zag; below, turtle vessel

The Kasita Red Filmed type was first manufactured in the 17th century and was commonly used by the Lower Creeks, but not by the Upper Creeks. It was named by Gordon Willey during his 1938 excavations at a nearby part of the airfield area on Fort Benning. Like Chattahoochee Roughened, this type was manufactured by some of the Creeks for a few decades after they were sent to Indian Territory in what is now the state of Oklahoma.

Charles has recently submitted a study of this material to Southeastern Archaeology. For those of you with JSTOR access, check out W.H. Sears’s 1955 paper in American Antiquity. Charles also recommends Fort Benning, the Land and the People.

Update 2 January: Adds Charles, “This site provides access to a list of virtually every pottery type defined by every archaeologist who ever worked in Georgia and then tells you the few types that have made it into modern usage.”

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Comments

  1. #1 Twoflower
    December 27, 2007

    Those centimeter scales make it look right perfeshunal.

  2. #2 Martin R
    December 27, 2007

    He’s got the goods!

  3. #3 Felicia Gilljam
    December 27, 2007

    Beautiful!

    But Martin, you lost me in the introduction. What porn?

  4. #4 Martin R
    December 27, 2007

    Look long enough at pix like Charles’s and your palms will sprout hair, baby.

  5. #5 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    December 28, 2007

    OMG! 17th century native Americans were Nazi sympathizers. And that last photo is clearly an image of a spaceship.

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