Swift Creek Complicated Stamped

testingfrom 38OC, MC and 9EB sites

from David Anderson's type description


Swift Creek ceramics, originally reported from the type site near Macon (Kelly and Smith) are characterized by a wide range of complicated stamped design motifs, and are common in southwest Georgia and on the Florida Gulf coast, where they have been dated to between AD 100 and 450 at sites like Mandeville (Smith 1979). Early Swift Creek ceramics, delimited at sites like Mandeville in southwest Georgia, are characterized by complicated stamped designs with concentric circles, ovals, and, usually, simple curvilinear design motifs. Rims are typically notched or scalloped and tetrapods are common. The ware continues into the Late Woodland in central and northern Georgia, well after its replacement in the Gulf Coastal region by Weeden Island types (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Willey 1949). In eastern Georgia, Swift Creek and later, Late Woodland Napier finishes are less common, and they are extremely rare along the lower Savannah River (DePratter 1979; Hanson and DePratter 1985; Stoltman 1974).

Late Woodland occupations in the upper Savannah River are characterized by late Swift Creek and Napier ceramics. Late Swift Creek ceramic assemblages, which date from ca. AD 500- 750, defined primarily with materials from the Swift Creek and Kolomoki sites (Kelly and Smith 1975; Sears are characterized by an increase in the incidence of plain pottery and folded rims, a decline in the incidence of notched and scalloped rims, and more complex complicated stamped designs with some zoned stamping. A fine-lined variant of Swift Creek, called B- Complex to differentiate it from classic south and central Georgia materials, was defined by Caldwell in the Buford Reservoir on the upper Chattahoochee River (Wood et al. 1986: 340-341). This material, which appears transitional between Swift Creek and Napier, appears to be a regional variant, and is most commonly found in the northern and eastern Georgia Piedmont, including within the Russell Reservoir (Anderson Rudolph 1986; Wood et al. (1986: 340-341). Similar Swift Creek/Napier materials were found at the Anneewakee Creek site in northwest Georgia, where uncorrected dates of AD AD 605+/- 85 and AD 755+/- 110 were reported (Dickens 1975; Wood et al. 1986: 341). Late Swift Creek materials were infrequently found in the Russell Reservoir and were dated to between AD 600 and 750 at Simpson's Field. These materials were provisionally given an Anderson phase designation, although this appears premature given how little is actually known about these occupations(Wood et al. 1986, Anderson 1988c).

In northern Georgia late Swift Creek and Napier ceramics are considered secure indicators of Late Woodland components, and these wares have been found in the Savannah River basin, albeit in low incidence. Few sites with Swift Creek or Napier ceramics have been found in the lower part of the Savannah River basin, and a decrease in incidence is clearly evident proceeding from west to east from Georgia into the South Carolina Piedmont (Ferguson 1971:67; Garrow 1975:24; Keel 1976: 221-222; Wauchope 1966:436-438). Some overlap of Swift Creek materials with the Cartersville and Connestee series is indicated, both in the upper Savannah River and elsewhere in north Georgia, although relationships between these series are poorly documented.

Sorting Criteria

Complicated stamped.


Extreme western Piedmont of South Carolina and the western mountains of North Carolina. Occasional sherds are noted in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina west of the Santee River.

Chronological Position

Middle and Late Woodland periods (ca. AD 300-750)

Primary References

Kelly 1938; Williams and Elliott nd