About the Diagnostic Website
The Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland web site project was initiated with generous support from the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. We started with two sections: Prehistoric Ceramics and Colonial Ceramics. The Prehistoric Ceramics pages provide a brief description of Maryland’s earliest history, a general introduction to the physiographic regions located in the state, and ware definitions and images for most of the Native American pottery types found here. The Colonial Ceramics pages cover the most common ware types imported into this region between the time of initial European settlement and the American Revolution.
A later addition to the web site is Small Finds. These are the “miscellaneous” artifacts typically recovered in small numbers on archaeological sites. Because published information about these objects can be difficult to find, they are often glossed over in archaeological reports, with little beyond mere descriptions included in these documents. Our goal is to provide details about their chronology, function, manufacture, etc., so that these artifacts can be more fully used in site interpretation. We have begun the Small Finds with the following categories: Bodkins, Bottle Seals, Bridle Bosses, Leather Ornaments (the decorative metal pieces commonly used on leather accessories or horse tack), Marbles, Religious Artifacts, Sleeve Buttons (cufflinks), Smoker’s Companions, Spurs, Stirrups, and Bone Toothbrushes. As time permits, we plan to add other Small Finds objects.
Another addition to the web site is Post-Colonial Ceramics. Produced with grant funding from the Maryland Historical Trust Board of Trustees, this section focuses on the decorative motifs found on 19th-century pottery to provide a tool for dating these often-confusing wares. Associated essays examine topics such as the 19th-century ware types commonly used by archaeologists, vessel manufacturing techniques, etc.
The newest section of the website is Projectile Points, which describes the various types of arrowheads and spear points commonly used by Maryland Indians, beginning at least 13,000 years ago. In addition, there are short essays on the manufacture and use of these tools. Funding for this section was generously provided by the Maryland Historical Trust Board of Trustees.
In the future we will add other artifact categories, like glassware, smoking pipes, etc. We hope this will make the Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland website an even more useful resource for scholars and the public.
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