image preview


Made from a type of coarse shell-tempered clay paste known as Mississippi Plain, this jar belongs to the style of Mississippian pottery known as Ranch Incised. While vessels, and especially jars, made from Mississippi Plain clay paste are common throughout the entire Mississippian Period, Ranch Incised vessels appear to be restricted to the Late Mississippian Period specifically. Known examples of Ranch Incised are nearly all jars like this one, which has been classified as a Ranch Incised vessel because of the distinctive curving incised design that covers the jar’s body. Archaeologists often describe this decorative pattern as being similar to fish-scales in appearance, or “imbricated,” and it is this imbricated pattern that is diagnostic of Ranch Incised pottery. The presence of arcaded handles is also a common trait of Ranch Incised vessels. Finally, although Ranch Incised vessels seem to be relatively rare in the lower half of the Mississippi River Valley (and virtually unknown in the upper half), the Memphis-area has produced many examples. This suggests that Ranch Incised was perhaps a characteristic ceramic style of the Late Mississippian occupational phases in/around Memphis, and that this particular jar - which was uncovered here at Chucalissa - was possibly made on-site.


1450- 1550


Pottery; Jar; Ranch Incised Jar; Mississippian