Thoms Creek Reed Drag and Jab Punctate

from David Anderson's Thoms Creek Type Description


Thom's Creek Reed Drag and Jab Punctate was formally defined as a variety of Thom's Creek Reed Punctate by Trinkley (1976a, 1980b:15), based on a sample of 687 sherds from 13 shell ring and midden sites from the Sea Island area of South Carolina. The distinctive drag and jab decorative mode was noted in earlier descriptions of the Thom's Creek Punctate type (e.g., Griffin 1945:467; Waddell 1965:Figure 1; Phelps 1968:20), but the incidence of the attribute (and that of the separate punctated mode) has not been consistently reported (See Background discussion for Thom’s Creek Reed Separate Punctate). Anderson et al. (1982:256-257) advocated calling it Thom's Creek Punctate, var. Spanish Mount, after the shell midden of Edisto Island (38CH62) where large quantities of this finish were reported (e.g. Trinkley 1976a, 1980b; Sutherland 1974). Adoption of the type-variety system has not occurred locally, however, and the variety designation is here formally sunk.

Most punctations were made with split and cut reeds; less commonly, blunt reeds or sticks were used. The decoration was typically applied in rows parallel to the rim, although curvilinear arrangements are sometimes noted. In some cases it appears that the decoration was restricted to the upper part of the vessel near the rim, or that it was isolated, occurring for one or a few rows.

Sorting Criteria

Trinkley (1980b:15):

Predominately linear rows of reed punctations formed by jabbing the reed tool into the plastic clay and then dragging to the next punctation. This forms lines of decoration which may resemble incising if the tool was small and the spacing of the jabs close together.

Typically applied in rows parallel to the rim; curvilinear or geometric arrangements less common. Paste, general surface finish, and rim and lip form similar or identical to that noted for Thom's Creek Reed Separate Punctate. May be confused with Thom's Creek Incised. 


Found throughout the Coastal Plain and Fall Line from extreme eastern Georgia to southeastern North Carolina. The ware is most commonly found in the area from the Savannah to the Santee Rivers, and occurs much less frequently elsewhere. Rarely noted above the Fall Line, typically only along major drainages. 

Chronological Position

Late Archaic period, Thom's Creek Phase (ca. 2000BC-1000BC). Research by Trinkley (1980a: 63-64, 287) suggests that Thom's Creek Reed Drag and Jab Punctate may date to the earlier part of the phase.  

Primary References

Same as Thom’s Creek Reed Separate Punctate