On November 20th, 2015, Dr. Eric Poplin, a senior archaeologist at Brockington associates met with us to go through some of the artifacts in our collection. As part of a happy hour to review our collection, we learned all about some of the interesting finds that have made their way to our little museum.


Video #1: Depford and Tom’s Creek Pottery

This early pottery dates from 500 BC to 500 AD, with pottery traditions adapted from everywhere.  (from video #5, there is a discussion that native americans were probably making pots here, but probably not year round.) Tom’s Creek pottery is concentrated in North and South Carolina.

Video #2: Pottery Style and Impressions

One piece of pottery is net-pressed.  Native Americans would have built nets and snares for small animals, and this early fabric would have been used to impress some pots. There is some question about pottery and human movement in the Americans and the explanation that there wasn’t much movement between North and South America, at least in a southward direction, because that would have been very hard given the jet stream.  Swift Creek pottery represented.  Pottery is an indicator of movement across the eastern US.

Video #3 Pottery from 500 years ago

In about 1100 AD, there is a big change.  The Mississippian culture has 3 centers in the Southeast: one near St. Louis, one in NW Alabama, and One in NW Georgia.  Now elaborate designs are carved into wooden paddles. Corn is being grown.  Social structure and hierarchy is being developed.  We are on the edge of that growth. There are some mounds in Santee and Savannah. These traditions would have carried up to the Sewee. Highly polished, fire heated clay was polished before firing. Used a line block stamp.  Yemassee design, we call this the Ashley series.  Some was found at Charlestowne Landing.  These are the indians here when the Europeans get here. The Kiawah 1550-1700.

The Yemassee war of 1715.  The English arrive in Carolina and there is competition with Florida.  The early settlers traded with the indians, and that trade drives the economy for about 30 years.  The Yemassee are fleeing the Indian slave trade.  Virginia traders sold them guns.  The spaniards want to convert the indians which leads to some conflict.  The English don’t care if they convert, so the southern tribes move here, joined by others.


From 1685 to 1715 the entire southeastern populations are decimated as indians are sold into slavery.  In 1715 the Yemassee ran out of people and by 1717 they are driven out.  Now Carolina will only trade with Nations, so it forces indians into defined groups with Nation ID to be able to trade with colonists.  They came as far north as Ashepoo.  Creation of Yemassee land.


Video #4: Colonoware

Colonoware, or colono/indian ware is made with the same clay.  Now made by enslaved Africans and brought in to replace the indians– most enslaved indians were women.  Men might flee or attack, so enslaved male native Americans were often sent to the Caribbean to work the sugar trade.


There is a hunk of resin for making turpentine (mentioned briefly.)


There is some English made pottery, which is being traded all over the world at this point.  Once british potters figured it out, they are trading all over the world.  Pearlware has turned up in Africa and coastal Ecuador.  Most European ceramics are trying to mimic Chinese porcelain.  Blue Chinese motifs are popular: Delftware, tiles and plates. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, tin is mixed into the glaze.


White saltglazed stoneware. Molds are beginning to be used in the 1740’s to 1760’s, which is the most important tableware then.The difference between stoneware and earthenware is both the type of firing and the type of clay.  Kaolin is used to make porcelain, but at the time the Chinese had a monopoly on that.


Side note from Dave: Kaolin helps in paper industry, creating a smooth finish for printing, which is one of the reasons Georgia had paper plants because of the natural supply of kaolin.


British potters begin making creamware chinese patterns and transfer prints, oriental themes


in 1780 the pearlware changes and Wedgewood

17th and 18th century lead glazed earthenware and slipwares. Added metals to glazes to make them harder.


Delftware: glaze flakes easily and lies on the surface.

Video #5 Gunflints

used to ignite powder and introduce a spark into the hole.  Using matchlock or flintlock to fire gun or cannon.  The hammer has jaws: pan plus powder.  Flint creates a spark to spark the powder and shoot the bullet.  They would make long blades of flint that could be chipped off and you could snap to break to whatever size needed.

Video #6: Climate Change

Question about whether people are making pots here and whether Dewees was even an island.  5000 years ago, the whole coast was farther east.  Discussion of climate change including glaciers and how the shoreline has changed.  Indians lived in large groups in summer, dispersed in family groups inland for winter and returned to corn planting and fishing locations for summer. Sometimes hundreds living close together, sometimes just small family units.

Video #7 Cannonball and grapeshot

At the time of the revolutionary war, there were small 2-4 lb guns which were very common. Ocean is capable of moving cannonballs: Esther found it washed up here.  Grapeshot was most likely used to damage ships rigging with canister shots out of a cannon.  Wood canister to stack 6-8 cannon balls and they would spread out when fired.


Utilitarian lead-glazed redware.  Question about kilns and pottery.

Mention of the naval stores industry and big resin.

Axe and hatchet head.  It looks like cast iron and not rock, so early to mid 19th century forward.

Coal: used to fire steamships.

Very weathered bottle glass: the older the glass the more it’s pitted.  Patina could have copper in it.

Clothing buckles are very fine: could be undergarment straps for women

Raw nail, brass button, probably from a shirt.

The tip of an umbrella stay, brass, probably 18th century.  Fabric gets sewn into the hole.

Pieces of bottle glass: dark green and flat 18th century rectangular bottles.  The 19 century brings more colors of glass.

Brick fragments: locally made brick.

Iron ring– some sort of hook out of wrought iron, 18th-19th century to use as a hoist for lifting.

Brown glass from the 1820’s to the 1890’s.

Video #8: Items from large display case

Brick fragments there were brick kilns on the wando and cooper rivers, and likely one here as well.  

English made stoneware, turned on a wheel.  Might be 19th century, and now pottery is being made all along the fall line.  Alkaline glazes smoother than salt glazes. British brown stoneware was made from the 1500’s to the 1800’s.


The salt glazed stoneware was probably 19th century based on color.  Stamp handle.


Two much older redware pieces were made in England.  They are black lead glazed from the 1400’s to the mid 1700’s.  Utilitarian and storage vessels: Milk pans: big wide vessels to fill with water, put bottles of milk into: as the water evaporates, it cools the bottles of milk and surrounding area. These look like North Devon gravel tempered with green lead glaze on the inside.  Included chunks of sand and rock to temper the milk pan: milk pans are the most common pans.  They stopped making them in early 1700s, but because they were so sturdy they lasted well into the 1800’s.


Pearlware tea plate or saucer.  If you lay them on white paper, pearlware is blueish, creamware is yellowish, whiteware replaces pearlware and it’s white and closest to the paper color.  The chemistry of the clay keeps changing to try to mimic porcelain.  Blue puddles of glaze in pearlware.  Earthenware not as hard fired.


20th century stoneware


Transfer printed whiteware 2nd half of the 19th century into the 20th century.  Pattern looks later: pretty late cup or recurved globular bowl, maybe more decorative.


Transfer printed pearlware


Plain blue pieces may be 2 different vessels; the rims are different.  Anular ware, bands of color.  Late 18th century– cheap to make, more often used by slaves.

Video #9 Items from large case


Whiteware– shell edged pearlware.  glaze is very crazed, more typical of whiteware.

Small pintle: type of hinge.  Probably for the shutter to hold a strap hinge.


The large pintle is probably for a door: 18th century wrought metal.

Porcelain teacup with handle: probably pretty late– late 19th or early 20th century, European or American made.


Neck of a doorknob; also could be part of a leg of furniture; looks like it had attachments at various places.  Dense brass, heavy.


Dave asks a question about clovis points and timing:

The earliest cultures we recognize by artifacts.  Clovis points are found all over the Americas and are very distinctive.  From 13000 to 12000 years ago, more common in the east.  Found in the west with mammals and mastodons.

Oldest radiocarbod dates from a site in Nova Scotia, are like nothing before that.  Really well-made points.

Native Americans came from Asia. Clovis points found near Beaufort, none near here. But they were found near Fla, ate oysters.


Clovis and the giant animals all disappear all at once.  Now they’ve found two dozen radiocarbon sites with older dates, with no clovis points. Topper site in Savannah River 50,000 years old. Several sites in S. America 30-35000 years ago.


Piece of pearlware or creamware with blueish puddling.


Tile from 20th century

Giant spike

20th century pieces

Brick fragments and melted glass

Video #10 (1800’s)

Musketball drilled for fishing weight, probably used by slaves from the mid 19th century.  The lead could have been used as a spindleweight.


Shell-edged earthenware with a feather edge.  1780-1820 produced several vessels of different kinds.  The ways they made the edging allows specific dating.  Pearlware with blue puddling.


Sickle used for harvesting grain unusual because it has a socket for wooden handle to slide in, most early pieces go the other way with a tang driven into wood handle.


Colonoware: slave made African 2 pieces. If used for cooking would be like dutch oven with coals; not directly in fire.


1760: Catawba Indians form right after the Yemassee war.  They go with the British Army to Quebec. Famous painting of the fall of Quebec has Catawba in pic, they replaced Yemassee as military partners.  Moved back here, made and sold colono-indianware.  Records of trading trips to Charleston.


Whiteware, flow glue, lots of glaze


Table glass tumbler


Variety of decorative pieces.  Some might be 20th century, most from the 1800’s.  Whiteware.


Bottle from early 1700’s (should be moved)

Shape tells us the date; probably used for spirits.  When they blow the glass bottle, the pontil is a tool to hold the bottom as you blow the glass.  The patina is from exposture to UV light and time.  It was green; minerals leach to surface over time.