Dames Quarter is an Early Woodland ware characterized
by crushed black rock (hornblende) or gneiss temper, with roughly
smoothed exterior surfaces. This pottery is similar to Marcey
Creek in appearance and manufacture.
Stratigraphic sequences and radiometric dating indicate
that Dames Quarter dates from ca. 1000 B.C. – 750 B.C.
Dames Quarter is found throughout the southern Delmarva
Peninsula, and the Eastern Shore Coastal Plain of Maryland. A
few instances of Dames Quarter have been reported from the Western
The paste ranges from coarse to fine and smooth, depending
on the size of the temper particles. The clay is fine-to-medium
grained, compact, and cohesive. Dames Quarter is heavily tempered
with coarse particles of black stone, such as hornblende or gneiss,
which make up a high percentage of the paste. Color ranges from
an oxidized buff to light orange.
Exterior surfaces are predominately smoothed, although cord-marked
and fabric-impressed surfaces have been recorded. As with the
exteriors, interior surfaces are commonly smoothed, but cord-marked
and fabric-impressed sherds have been found.
Wise (1975:23) noted that some sherds recovered from Deal’s Island,
Delaware exhibited crudely incised designs. The use of lug handles
as decorations has also been observed.
Both hand-modeled and coil-constructed sherds have been found
for Dames Quarter. Vessel shapes range from oval to cylindrical
bodies with straight sides, and are medium in size. Bases are
commonly flat, but conoidal ones have been recovered. Wise (1975:23)
noted that some of the flat bases showed signs of coil-construction.
The conoidal base sherds were very thick and appeared to have
been hand molded. Rims are direct, while lips are either rounded
or flattened. Vessel wall thickness ranges from 7 mm – 14 mm.
Defined in the Literature
Dames Quarter Black Stone Tempered ware was initially defined
as a restricted localized development on the Delmarva Peninsula
with similarities to Marcey Creek pottery (Wise 1975:23). Richard
Artusy noted that large amounts of Dames Quarter had been recovered
from Somerset County, Maryland, and supported the concept that
ceramic experimentation was occurring between 1000 B.C. – 700
B.C. in the Mid-Atlantic region (Artusy 1976:2). Associated experimental
wares include Selden Island and Ware Plain, with a mixture of
manufacturing techniques, tempers and surface treatments used
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