Native American Culture/Aripeka FL pottery shards
QUESTION: I manage a small gallery in Aripeka FL One of the locals loaned me a small can of pottery fragments that he had dug up, so that I may photograph them He, of course wanted more information
This evening he came and said that he had found more and will be bring them over
This is a link to one of the photos (Im guessing that they are timucua) I left the smooth non patterned pieces out http://joz-nikon.deviantart.com/art/Indian-Pottery-Timucua-482043426
Of the things that he and I are both curious about<What was their name<Where did they obtain red clay< why did they coat the inside of with charcoal or black clay
ANSWER: That's a very nice group of shard. My experience is primarily with Southwestern pottery, but the Florida people constructed the pottery in a very similar manner, hand shaping coiled structures and wood firing. The color of clay changes during firing, depending upon the temperatures achieved and the wood used. If Pit fired, at higher temperatures, native grey clay can certainly fire red depending upon the mineral content. Sometimes smoke clouds can mark a surface with carbon and blacken an area of a wood fired pot, while a hot jet may burn off the carbon and leave a red or orange area. Since these pots were not slipped overall for decoration, and the textured surfaces leave lots of places for carbon to deposit, I would expect that a whole pot would have quite a lot of color variation over the exterior surface. Inside the pot, usually placed upside down over a bed of coals or rocks for firing, would remain darker. Also if the pot were used for cooking or food storage, it may well be discolored, much darker from the contents. Hope this helps a bit.
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QUESTION: Thanks, that is helpful From what I can see, the black areas are on the inside and are from drying the clay prior to decoration, the humidity is too high and rains here are too common for the usual mid-western approach
Continuing my uneducated guessing the most most often necessary content would be fresh water Most pottery sites around here are off shore but near a source of fresh water(One could imagine the children learning how to operate a boat by paddling their parents supplies to a rather safe small island) A small offshore island doesn't seem a likely lace to store food, there are too many reeds for baskets too many fresh fish Besides, unless they paddled 20 miles further and dangled the pots off the side of the boat the water temperature too high to provide refrigeration, the food would spoil by the next day
The red color is most likely cattail root peelings, a common North American additive The root fiber is high in phosphates, which lowers the melting temperature of the glass and adding any dried fiber, in itself, speeds production
Thanks for the help, have you any knowledge as to the name of the group who used this decoration pattern? (I assume a pattern would be equivocal to a family name, but such a proto language is a long reach on my part) The patterns appear to have been carved by re-wetting the surface and bouncing a springy bone, such as a birds wish bone attached to a stick The excellent control for the depth, leads me to believe that the internal drying and re-wetting process would be pretty common amongst the tribe(I've made a few ugly mud pies myself, if somebody doesn't teach that to you, you'll be a caveman for eternity)
If you'd like, Ill send you some new pics when the next batch comes in Anything special you'll want in the photo?
ANSWER: If I were you, I'd take the stuff to Florida State to have the anthropology Dept. take a look. I'm not familiar enough with this pottery to offer further comment. the style of pecked incising is not one that was used in any of the groups of cultures whose work I know, so it might be a completely indigenous Florida technique. Good luck with your further research.
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QUESTION: Thanks for the response, If my source ever does wander back into the store, I'll ask him. After all it is not my property.
BUT, ADDING To our fascination with this old stuff, recent Youtube videos do add a bit of interesting spice!! Did you know that the very same swirl pattern is currently being used in the Mediterranean to search for ATLANTIS!
If he comes back with the fountain of youth , I'll cut your office a bargain on the vending machine.
Sounds like a very interesting bit of research. A more typical way the inside gets darker is from smoke in the firing darkening the clay as the inside temps are cooler than the outside of the pot, and also, if it was actually used in food prep, the food would stain the insides. The swirl pattern may actually be pretty typical for decoration among most hand coiled pottery of the period, wherever it was made as techniques are often dictated by surroundings and tools. Thanks for the update.