Early Cultures: Pre-European Peoples of Wisconsin
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More About Pottery
Image of Woodland Pots
Pot shapes and designs change through time. The oldest pots are on the left, the most recent Woodland pots are on the right.
Another new technology for Wisconsin's Woodland people was pottery. Woodland people made their pots from local clays. They learned that if they added temper, small ground up rocks or sand, to their clay it would help prevent shrinkage and cracking during drying and firing.

Coils or slabs were used to build the pots. After the clay pots dried in the air, they were baked in an open fire. Woodland pots have straight sides and cone shaped bottoms. Paddles covered with cords were used to shape the pots. Some pots were decorated with incised lines. Others were decorated with cord or fabric pressed into the wet clay.

The decoration on pottery changes through time just like the shape of projectile points. Archaeologists can use the type of temper and designs on pots to help tell their age. The oldest pottery has incised lines, made with a stick or a fingernail. Later pottery often has fine decoration made with a stick wrapped with a cord and pressed into the clay, or a stick carved with notches to make a dentate pattern. The latest Woodland pottery has elaborate sets of cords, perhaps woven, pressed into the clay.




















Pottery Shards
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