Watson is a Middle Woodland ware characterized
by a crushed limestone temper and cord-marked exterior. Defined
types have traditionally included Watson Cordmarked and Watson
Stratigraphic sequences and radiometric dating
indicate that Watson ceramics post-date Adena occupations in the
upper Ohio River Valley and immediately precede Page components.
They date to the end of the Middle Woodland period, ca. A.D. 100
– A.D. 800.
Watson ceramics are found in the upper reaches
of the Potomac River Valley in Maryland and West Virginia, as well
as over a large area in the upper Ohio River Valley.
The paste is heterogeneous, and sherds tend to break along coil
lines. The temper consists of crushed limestone that is variable
in size (up to 8 mm) and which comprises 20% – 50% of the paste.
Temper is often leached out, leaving angular holes on sherd surfaces.
Watson ceramics have a surface hardness ranging from 2.5 – 4.0 on
the Moh’s hardness scale. Color ranges from a yellow-gray to tan,
with slightly darker cores.
Exterior surfaces are cord-marked, plain, and, in rare instances,
incised. Cord-marking is usually vertical from the lip to the base.
The exterior surfaces are smoothed.
Watson wares are coil-constructed with paddle malleation. Vessels
are probably rounded, with straight to slightly everted lips. Lips
are squared to slightly flattened. Vessel wall thickness ranges
from 5 mm – 15 mm, with a mean of 7 mm.
Defined in the Literature
This type is named for the Watson Farm site (46HK34) in the upper
Ohio River Valley. Its distribution in the Potomac River Valley
is not clear. However, recent evidence indicates that poorly constructed
limestone-tempered ceramics from two sites show at least a tentative
relationship to the Ohio River Valley Watson wares. These crudely
constructed vessels appear to be typological precedents to the more
refined Page wares that dominated the region by the early Late Woodland
period. This Middle Woodland ware may have developed out of earlier
thick Vinette-like wares, some of which have been found in western
Maryland rockshelter sites.
Maryland sites with Watson components
Mexico Farms (18AG167)
| 1620 + 170;
A.D. 50? – 710,
|| Mexico Farms
| Feature 1a
|| Wall 1993a, 1993b
| 1270 + 60;
|| Adell, WV
Dragoo 1956; Mayer-Oakes