Historical Archaeology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 18–43 | Cite as

A vessel typology for early Chesapeake ceramics: The Potomac Typological System

  • Mary C. Beaudry
  • Janet Long
  • Henry M. Miller
  • Fraser D. Neiman
  • Gary Wheeler Stone


A tentative scheme for classifying vessel shapes excavated in the Chesapeake region of Maryland and Virginia is presented. The result, dubbed “The Potomac Typological System” (POTS), links gradations of forms of vessels commonly excavated on Tidewater sites to terms used in inventories and other documents of the period. Although many of the colonial terms also belong to the modern lexicon, their connotations and referents were not always identical in the past. The aim is not to produce a standardized, all-purpose typology but rather a preliminary foundation for comparisons enabling the exploration of what sorts of functional variability exist within and between assemblages. The important role of data from documentary sources in the interpretation of excavated ceramic material is also discussed.


Archaeological Record Historical Archaeology Eating Vessel Ceramic Assemblage Wash Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary C. Beaudry
    • 1
  • Janet Long
    • 2
  • Henry M. Miller
    • 3
  • Fraser D. Neiman
    • 4
  • Gary Wheeler Stone
    • 5
  1. 1.Archaeological Studies ProgramBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.St. Mary’s City CommissionSt. Mary’s CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  5. 5.St. Mary’s City CommissionSt. Mary’s CityUSA

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