St. Catherines Cord Marked

from David Anderson's type description


The type St. Catherines Fine Cord Marked was formally defined by DePratter (1979: 131) based on materials from WPA-era excavations at the mouth of the Savannah. The description was modified from an earlier unpublished study by William Steed The type is referred to as St. Catherines Cord Marked in the most recent revision of the sequence (DePratter 1991: 180).

St. Catherines phase assemblages at the mouth of the Savannah are dominated by grog- tempering, although the size of the temper inclusions decreases compared with the previous period. St. Catherines Plain, Burnished Plain, Fine Cord Marked, and Net Marked all occur, with the grog-tempered fine cross cord marked which is the key diagnostic. Cord impressions are much narrower and more carefully executed, and more often cross stamped than on the preceding Wilmington period vessels. St. Catherines vessels are much better made than their Wilmington predecessors, furthermore, with well-smoothed interiors.

Exactly how late Late Woodland assemblages, specifically those dominated by cord marking, run in the lower and middle Savannah River Valley is currently the subject of some debate. Along the southern coast, in County, excavations at three sites on Pinckney Island tested and demonstrated the general utility of the mouth-of-the-Savannah sequence in that area (Trinkley 1983). The fieldwork did suggest that St. Catherine's pottery, dated from AD 1000 to 1150/1200 in the mouth-of-the-Savannah sequence, might run as late as the sixteenth century AD in that area (Trinkley see also 1983; Brooks 1983). Excavations at the St. Catherines / Savannah I period Callawassie Island Burial Mound (Brooks et al. 1982) have also suggested that an essentially "Woodland" burial tradition may have continued into the early Mississippian period in the southern coastal area. Similar phenomena may have occurred in the middle Savannah River area, where M. J. Brooks and K. E. (personal communication: 1989) have suggested that Woodland ceramics continued in use during and even after the period Mississippian chiefdoms occupied the area, perhaps to as late as AD 1450.

Sorting Criteria

Cross stamped cord impressions over the exterior vessel surface. typically at a ca. 45 degree angle with respect to the rim. Interiors are commonly shell scraped. The paste is characterized by crushed sherds or clay / grog from 3 to 5 in maximum dimension. The grog / sherd temper elements are smaller, on the average, than in Wilmington Cord Marked assemblages.


Sea Island area of northern Georgia and extreme southwestern South Carolina, in the vicinity of the mouth of the Savannah River.

Chronological Position

Initial Mississippian period, AD 1000-1 15011200


DePratter 1979: 131; 1991; 182; Steed nd