Wilmington Sand Tempered Cord Marked

from David Anderson's type description


The early Late Woodland in the middle Savannah River ceramic sequence dates to ca. to BP, and is characterized by sand-tempered plain, cord marked, and fabric impressed pottery. The cord marked material appears to be an inland equivalent of Wilmington Heavy Cord Marked observed at the river mouth. No phase names have been assigned to the early Late Woodland period, which is provisionally described as an interior Wilmington equivalent. No unambiguous diagnostic indicators exist dating assemblages exclusively to this period, although sand-tempered cord marked pottery characterized by closely spaced, carefully applied wide parallel impressions is common.

Wilmington/Walthour dates from AD 500 to 600, and is characterized by clay/grog-tempered Wilmington Check stamped, Heavy Cord Marked, Plain, and Walthour Complicated Stamped ceramics, the latter an apparent late Swift Creek variant. No interior equivalent for this phase has been observed, although there was undoubtedly a period when the manufacture of Deptford and interior Wilmington wares overlapped. Wilmington phase components, which dates from ca. AD 600 to 1000, are identified by the presence of Wilmington Plain, Brushed, Fabric Marked, and Heavy Cord Marked pottery. A contemporaneous phase provisionally called "interior Wilmington equivalent" has been advanced for the interior Coastal Plain along the Savannah River, where comparable types, differing only in possessing fine instead of claylgrog tempering, are present (Anderson 1994; and Anderson

The difference between the inland and coastal early Late Woodland assemblages lies in the type of temper employed in each area. Wilmington and St. Catherines series ceramics along the lower Savannah are characterized by clay/grog-tempering, while assemblages in the interior are sand-tempered.

Clay/grog paste has rounded, subrounded, and irregular lumps of sherd, clay, or fired clay ranging in size from ca. 2 to 10 mm mixed into it. These inclusions typically differ appreciably in color and texture from the surrounding body of the sherd. Claylgrog-tempered paste is extremely rare in the middle Savannah River Valley, where only a few sherds have been found (Sassaman and Anderson 1990). Late Woodland assemblages dominated by sand-tempered cord marked pottery are widespread in the interior Coastal Plain along the Savannah River, both along the floodplain and in the interriverine uplands. Chronological control within local cord marked assemblages is poor, however, with only a rough separation between earlier and later Late Woodland currently possible, made on the basis of cord size and the occurrence of cross-stamping. There is some suggestion that rim and lip treatment has chronological significance, but this remains to be explored locally.

Sorting Criteria

Closely spaced, carefully applied, wide mm) parallel cord impressions. The cord width may be up to ca. 10 mm wide in extreme cases on this heavy cord marked finish. The impressions are typically closely spaced and carefully applied, although care in execution may vary considerably. Paste characterized by varying amounts of small (0.5-2.0 mm), rounded clear or white quartz inclusions. Interior finish typically slightly sandy or gritty in texture.


Observed primarily along Savannah River below the Fall Line, and along the Edisto River.

Chronological Position

Late Woodland period (AD 500-800). Equivalent to Wilmington Heavy Cord Marked on the coast.


Stoltman 1974; Anderson et a1.(1979); Sassaman and Anderson 1990