Deptford Check Stamped


The type Deptford Bold Check Stamped was formally defined by Joseph R. Caldwell and Antonio J. Waring, Jr. in 1939, based on materials recovered from the Deptford shell midden and several other sites in the vicinity of the city of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia (Caldwell and Waring 1939a). The ware was recognized as part of a series, including linear check, bold check, and simple stamped types, that were stratigraphically intermediate between the Stallings and Wilmington series in the Chatham County sequence (Caldwell and Waring 1939b). The principal attribute or decorative motif of the type, check stamping, occurs over much of the southeastern Gulf and Atlantic slopes, from eastern Alabama and Florida, to throughout Georgia and South Carolina and into North Carolina. Several formal type descriptions for Deptford Check Stamped have appeared (e.g., Caldwell and Waring 1939a; DePratter 1979:124-126), as well as a number of detailed descriptions of the ware from specific sites, localities, or regions.

Deptford Check Stamped consists of a lattice of evenly-spaced raised lands that intersect to form square or rectangular checks. It is the even size of the lands that distinguishes this design from linear check stamped. The type is easily confused with the later Savannah Check Stamped, although the interiors are poorly to well smoothed on Deptford specimens, and highly smoothed-to-burnished on probable Mississippian specimens. See also discussion for Deptford Linear Check Stamped.

Sorting Criteria

Check stamping over the exterior vessel surface, defined as evenly sized and spaced horizontal and vertical lands. The exterior surface is occasionally smoothed somewhat after stamping. Paste characterized by varying amounts of small (0.5-2.0 mm), rounded clear, white, or rose quartz inclusions. Interior finish typically slightly sandy or gritty in texture. May be confused with Deptford Linear Check Stamped, Cartersville Check Stamped, and Savannah Check Stamped.


Deptford Check Stamped occurs throughout the Coastal Plain and Fall Line areas of eastern Georgia and South Carolina, and is occasionally noted in the southeastern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. A similar, related ware, Cartersville Check Stamped occurs in the adjoining Piedmont of Georgia and western South Carolina, and the two types tend to intergrade.

Chronological Position

Early/Middle Woodland periods, Refuge-Deptford Phases (ca. 600 BC - AD 500). A range for the type between roughly 600 BC and AD 500 has been documented by radiocarbon dates from a number of sites in the Coastal Plain of Georgia and South Carolina, and along the lower Savannah River the ware occurs stratigraphically between the Refuge and Wilmington types.

Primary References

Caldwell and Waring (1939a, 1939b); Griffin (1945); Griffin and Sears (1950); Caldwell (1952, 1958, 1971); South (1960, 1976); Waring 1955, 1968c); Williams (1968); Waring and Holder (1968); Peterson (1971); Stoltman (1974); Anderson et al. (1979; 1982:277-281); DePratter (1979:123-124); Sassaman and Anderson 1990).