Oak Leaf

(Steen and Judge 2003)

This is a Deptford variant that appears to be made from a kaolinitic clay found in a specific area of the Sandhills near Columbia. Local clay samples were used to make a vessel which had a similar paste. The sherds have a distinctive, almost vitreous surface and numerous white inclusions. Some of these are kaolin, while others are bits of fossilized shell and silicified sandstone. The sherds were found in a buried stratum at the Sandstone Ledge Rockshelter site (38LX283). The topsoil contained complicated stamped and cord and fabric marked wares, with only a single sherd of the Oak Leaf variant. By about 35cm bs sherds had dropped off to nearly nothing, and the soil grades into what appears to be a normal sterile subsoil. Indeed, Level 12, 65-70cm bs, was sterile, but levels 13-16 contained large sherds of both regular Deptford and the Oak Leaf variant (images). Radiocarbon dates were obtained from flotation samples, but all of the results were ambiguous, underlining the need for careful consideration of dated samples. The date from the buried midden was much too early for Deptford (4230+/-100BP- corrected with Calib 5.1). As with the topsoil this zone faded into sterile sand with thick lamellae, but about 50cm deeper another buried midden deposit was encountered. This contained two possible fiber tempered sherds and stone tools ranging from Savannah River stemmed, to a fluted point midsection. Dates from the top and bottom of this were 4370+/-70BP, and 4850+/-80BP respectively. This mixing is probably the result of shelter cleaning, and charcoal transport through leaching. Sherds with similar "white speck" temper have been seen elsewhere in the Midlands (Steen 1992) but are not common. This type name has not been used widely, and the variant may be specific to the site, as there is the usual Midlands variant of Deptford in the collection as well.