Artifact of the Week: Sherd with Basket Impression

The sherd above features cord marking, a surface decoration which involves pressing vegetal cordage or basketry into damp pottery.  Since the archaeological record of San Diego County rarely includes preserved textiles, these impressions are an important source of information about local textile production.

Vessel sherds constitute the majority of the Center’s pottery collections. Because of the enormous quantity of sherds, we usually cannot use them to reconstruct a pot. However, sherds from the rim, base, or body of a vessel can provide information such as which culture made the vessel or when it was made.

Pottery is helpful in understanding settlement patterns and trade and exchange networks. It can also be used to date archaeological components and sites. Pottery objects are made frequently, embody changing styles or attributes, and break easily. Therefore, ceramic remains preserved in the archaeological record are excellent time indicators.

Date: Late Prehistoric Period (3,000 – 300 Years Ago)
Material Class: Pottery – Tizon Brown Ware