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Journal of Ohio Archaeology articles

Volume 1, 2011

Banding, Cable, and Cat's Eye
Robert A. Genheimer


Cincinnati’s contribution to the nineteenth century American yellow ware market has received little attention in the literature.  Like East Liverpool, Ohio, Cincinnati in the 1840s attracted a significant number of British-born, and Staffordshire-trained potters.  Between ca. 1842 and ca. 1870, at least a half-dozen Cincinnati potteries produced large quantities of yellow ware and Rockingham in factory settings.  In an effort to better understand this production, an assemblage of 289 discrete yellow ware vessels recovered from six major urban archaeology projects in Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky is carefully examined.  The majority of vessels originate from nineteenth century privy shafts, many of which exhibit well-dated depositional horizons beginning in the 1840s.  A broad range of vessel types is identified including chamber pots, bowls, pitchers, spittoons, plates, and unspecified hollow ware.  While a significant proportion of the vessels is undecorated, numerous slip decorations, including common cable, cat’s eye, annular banding, slip trailing, dendrites, and broad slip bands are identified.  Only a very small number of sample vessels are marked, however at least six-dozen unmarked vessels from Covington Pottery wasters allow for attribution to William Bromley.  Although a number of privy shafts producing yellow ware are well dated, a broad range of sample vessels recovered from the lowest levels of those features indicates that much of the full range of decoration was already present by the time of deposition.  As a result, no sequence of decorative types can be ascertained through an examination of their depositional origins.  A Cincinnati production system is defined based upon economic constraints, decorative types, and vessel color.  The suite of slip and dendritic applications identified within the Cincinnati vessel sample is not unique to Cincinnati, and similar vessel treatments are noted for an early yellow ware and Rockingham manufacturer in East Liverpool, Ohio.  And, while there are significant differences in color between Cincinnati and East Liverpool samples, the broad range and overlap of color matches between the two samples suggests that attribution based upon color should be avoided.

Middle Woodland Domestic Architecture
Sarah A. Weaver, Elliot M. Abrams, AnnCorinne Freter, and Dorothy Sack


Architectural data from the Patton site (33AT990), a Middle Woodland habitation site in the Hocking River drainage, Southeastern Ohio, are described. Horizontal excavation of this unplowed terrace site revealed one of the most complete houses for this time period. Features associated with this house also are described as they relate to storage, food preparation, and tool manufacture.  The house was rebuilt in three consecutive episodes spanning 23 years on average before it was abandoned. The presence of a wattle and daub house suggests that a strong commitment to fixed spaces was made by the domestic community, supporting the model of a relatively sedentary society.

Ohio--"The Heart of It All" For Over 15,000 Years
Bradley T. Lepper


A previous slogan of the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism declared that Ohio was "The Heart of It All." A review of Ohio's prehistory suggests this slogan is appropriate for much of the past 15,000 years; and yet sur-prisingly few Ohioans today fully appreciate the impressiveness of our ancient American Indian heritage. Archaeologists need to reach out to the general public and share the knowledge we have gained about the origi-nal discoverers of America who hunted mastodons across Ohio’s Ice Age landscape, the first Ohio farmers who learned how to domesticate local plants more than 3,000 years ago, and the mound-builders who translated their sophisticated knowledge of geometry and astronomy into architectural wonders of the world.

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