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Indigenous Ceramic Type Collection

A Guide to Georgia Indigenous Ceramic Types

Mark Williams, University of Georgia and Victor D. Thompson, University of Georgia

This webpage is a modified version of Mark Williams and Victor D. Thompson's publication on the same subject published in the journal Early Georgia 27(1), the journal of the Society for Georgia Archaeology. Please click here for history of the project as it is important to understand the classification of formal types in Georgia.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available. If the reader notices errors or has additional updates or new type information to share, please contact Victor D. Thompson at

Over 400 ceramic types are presented in alphabetical order, rather than a chronological one because many overlap or the dates are uncertain. The simple Quick Key should help individuals locate appropriate type names, or at least get started with the identification process.

There are well over 400 types presented in this Indigenous Ceramic Type Collection. This is certainly a massive and perhaps irrational number of named types, possibly more than in any other state in the U.S. Certainly no one needs to know all these. Probably 60 percent of them are of no real value at the present time. But there is another truth here: Georgia is centered on an area of the South with an incredible diversity of precolonial ceramic styles. Located at the southern extreme of the Appalachians, it was the crossroads for many people and ideas for many centuries. This may contribute to the diversity in recognized ceramic styles.

For every type, the Background section lists the who, what, and where of the original definition of the type. The Sorting Criteria section lists the major defining characteristics, not every known characteristic. The number of illustrations and photographs is not great considering the huge number of types. They do cover the range of surface treatments, however, by reference to related types in most cases. The information from the original type descriptions has usually been paraphrased, and the sections on Chronological Range and Geographical Range have been updated based upon our best current estimates.

For most of the types we have simply listed the Chronological Range by period name. Although archaeologists will forever joyfully argue about the exact dates for these periods, Table 1 provides a useful guide for these dates for the uninitiated (Williams 1994:76).


Late Archaic 3000-1000 B.C.

Early Woodland 1000-300 B.C.

Middle Woodland 300B.C.-600 A.D.

Late Woodland 600-900 A.D.

Early Mississippian 900-1200 A.D.

Middle Mississippian 1200-1350 A.D.

Late Mississippian 1350-1600 A.D.