Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Geography & Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Terry Powis

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Swift Creek Culture refers to prehistoric Native American peoples of Florida and Georgia who produced a distinctive type of pottery, called Swift Creek Complicated Stamped, dating from 20 BC to AD 805. This Middle Woodland pottery type can be identified by curved geometric decorations stamped onto clay with a wooden paddle. Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery was widely traded across the Eastern Woodlands among high-status individuals and is therefore regarded as a prestige item. The preeminent Swift Creek site of the Etowah River Valley during the Middle Woodland is the Leake site. At the Leake site, there were three conical mounds and thousands of Swift Creek ceramics recovered. Its presence at Leake implies social stratification within that community. A smaller site, known as Cummings, is located across the Etowah River, about 500 meters away. Decorated ceramic types found at Cummings included: Swift Creek Complicated Stamped, Dunlap Fabric Impressed, Cartersville Simple Stamped, Cartersville Checked Stamped, and Cartersville Linear Checked Stamped. During the 2018 excavation of six units at Cummings, a singular Swift Creek ceramic sherd was recovered. The low frequency of Swift Creek sherds at Cummings implies that the inhabitants at the site were not tied into Swift Creek Culture like those at the Leake site, which suggests their different (lower) status would not have allowed them access to this prestige ware. This research focuses on the nature and extent of the relationship between Leake and Cummings and how each were connected politically, socially, and economically to each other during the Middle Woodland period.

Project Type

Poster

Share

COinS
 

Haves versus Have Nots: Analyzing Swift Creek Ceramic Distribution within the Middle Woodland Etowah River Valley

Swift Creek Culture refers to prehistoric Native American peoples of Florida and Georgia who produced a distinctive type of pottery, called Swift Creek Complicated Stamped, dating from 20 BC to AD 805. This Middle Woodland pottery type can be identified by curved geometric decorations stamped onto clay with a wooden paddle. Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery was widely traded across the Eastern Woodlands among high-status individuals and is therefore regarded as a prestige item. The preeminent Swift Creek site of the Etowah River Valley during the Middle Woodland is the Leake site. At the Leake site, there were three conical mounds and thousands of Swift Creek ceramics recovered. Its presence at Leake implies social stratification within that community. A smaller site, known as Cummings, is located across the Etowah River, about 500 meters away. Decorated ceramic types found at Cummings included: Swift Creek Complicated Stamped, Dunlap Fabric Impressed, Cartersville Simple Stamped, Cartersville Checked Stamped, and Cartersville Linear Checked Stamped. During the 2018 excavation of six units at Cummings, a singular Swift Creek ceramic sherd was recovered. The low frequency of Swift Creek sherds at Cummings implies that the inhabitants at the site were not tied into Swift Creek Culture like those at the Leake site, which suggests their different (lower) status would not have allowed them access to this prestige ware. This research focuses on the nature and extent of the relationship between Leake and Cummings and how each were connected politically, socially, and economically to each other during the Middle Woodland period.