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By Carolyn Rock

2009 Early Georgia, Vol 37(2):216-243

This report provides a general analysis of Protohistoric period ceramics recovered from archaeological sites within the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, located on the southern Georgia coast in Camden County, Georgia. Although several separate reports have been compiled concerning archaeology at Kings Bay, none have presented a sufficient summary of the Protohistoric period. Part of the reason is due to recent findings concerning the nature and origin of grog-tempered pottery on the lower Georgia coast. Originally typed as Wilmington or Savannah in many of the reports, we now understand that much of the grog-tempered ware recovered was probably manufactured during the terminal late Prehistoric and Protohistoric Spanish Mission periods. We are still uncertain as to how far back into prehistoric culture this particular series may have extended, or whether other grog-tempered manifestations accompanied earlier ceramic assemblages. Nevertheless, the existence of grog-tempered pottery as a major late prehistoric and protohistoric component is now fairly well established. My task was to conduct a review of the Kings Bay reports, including artifact descriptions and analysis, and reassess the findings in the light of what we now know.

Protohistoric ceramics found at Kings Bay sites include the San Pedro series, made by the local Timucua Indians, and the Altamaha/San Marcos series made by the succeeding Guale or Yamassee Indians (it has been argued that the late Mocama Timucua also made San Marcos pottery in the seventeenth century). Slight mixing of ceramic styles may have occurred during the transition from San Pedro to Altamaha/San Marcos. At some sites, Spanish olive jar and even a few fragments of Spanish majolica were recovered, suggesting that these locations experienced communication and trade (either direct or indirect) with the Spanish mission network.

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