Diana Fuller searches
carefully for artifacts.
In the lab, students started looking at different ways to alter the surface of a vessel. The ceramics of this region often have smoothed surfaces and are smudged. Smudging is the use of a smoky fire to darken the surface of a pot. Early English accounts of traders and visitors to this region recount how the ceramics were a dark color. Other kinds of decoration include incising and paddle stamping. Different kinds of incising were done to the pottery—sometimes sharp, deep slashes, other times wider grooves that were partially smoothed over. A large area of the southeast US has a long tradition of using paddles to shape, decorate, and seal the exterior of vessels. Many times, these paddles were carved with designs, which then left an impression on the vessel surface. The beautiful, complex designs are, in a word, “impressive”!