Refuge Plain

grog tempergrog temper

from David Anderson's Refuge Type Descriptions


The type Refuge Plain was first noted by Waring (1968b:Tables 12 16), in a description of ceramics recovered from his 1947 excavations at the Refuge type site (38JA5). No formal description of the type was offered, although it was implied that the plainwares came from the lower (undecorated) portions of Refuge Simple Stamped vessels (Waring 1968b:200). A formal description of Refuge Plain was published by DePratter (1979: 122), using materials from the north Georgia coast and from the type site. Due to perceived ambiguities in the traditional approach to sorting Refuge from later plain wares, DePratter (1979) used the type Refuge Plain for all pre-Mississippian period sand tempered plain wares in the Savannah locality, much as he used the type Refuge Simple Stamped to accommodate all local simple stamped wares. Separation of early (e.g., Refuge) from later (e.g., Deptford) plain and simple stamped wares in the Savannah sequence was traditionally based on "quality" or apparent manufacturing sophistication, with the earlier materials (typically) reported as cruder (e.g., Waring 1968b:200). As Stoltman (1974:22), DePratter (1976, 1979), and others have noted, these criteria are highly subjective, and not particularly useful for sorting ceramic assemblages.

In this guide the term Woodland Plain is used for such sand-tempered plain wares, and Refuge Plain is reserved for the distinctive temperless or clay-grog tempered materials found with Refuge Dentate Stamped materials in the central South Carolina Coastal Plain. Separation of earlier and later plain and simple stamped wares remains a major challenge in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Sorting criteria

Plain, well smoothed exterior surface finish. Paste ranges from temperless to tempered with small (0.5-2.0 mm) lumps of aplastic clay (grog). Both interior and exterior surfaces are well smoothed. Flat, excurvate rims are ubiquitous; lips are typically undecorated. May be confused with Thom's Creek Plain, later Woodland plainwares.


Poorly documented. The distribution of the type Refuge Plain is assumed to be the same as that for temperless or clay-grog tempered Refuge Dentate Stamped, which has currently been observed only along the lower Santee River, at sites where otherwise identical dentate stamped wares occur. Ceramics characterized by a plain surface finish and a temperless or clay-grog tempered paste are not uncommon in coastal North and South Carolina, although most occurrences appear associated with later series, such as Wilmington or what is referred to in North Carolina as Hanover.

Chronological position

Early Woodland period, Refuge Phases (1000BC—600BC).

Primary references

Waring (1968b:200); Peterson (1971a, 1971b); Anderson (1975b); DePratter (1976, 1977, 1979:122), Trinkley (1980a, 1981c); Anderson et al. (1982:270-271)