Oldtown Burnished


See Background description for Series.

Sorting Criteria

(See Sorting Criteria for the Series) To create a burnished surface a clay slip is applied to a pot when it is at the leather-hard stage of drying. The surface is then rubbed with a hard, smooth tool like a cobble or piece of bone, to create a very smooth, sometimes polished surface. The burnished surface will bear linear facets from the polishing tool. During the protohistoric Early Saratown phase burnished exteriors occur only on bowls with inverted or carinated rims. In most instances the interiors of Burnished bowls were also burnished. During this phase, decoration appears to have been limited to triangular-shaped notches or short parallel incised lines on the shoulder of carinated bowls and circular punctations on the lip of bowls with inverted rims. Later, during the Middle and Late Saratown phases, additional vessel forms were burnished. Hemispherical bowls and a vessel shape which Wilson (1983) referred to as a "cuspidor" were also burnished. A cuspidor has a flat base, wide shoulder, and an everted rim. As a general rule, cuspidors were not decorated. During the Contact Period the shoulder, rim, and lip of Burnished bowls were decorated. Rims and shoulders were decorated with incised curvilinear or rectilinear designs sometimes combined with zones of punctations. Various types of notching and incising occurred on the lips or margin of these burnished bowls. Repeating rectilinear incised designs on the rim of burnished cazuela bowls appears to have been a late development within Burnished pottery.


This type has only been identified at Upper Saratown.

Chronological Position

AD 1450 -1710.

Primary References

Wilson 1983; Ward and David 1993, 1996 (ms in part I)

(Type description: Jane Eastman)