The indigenous people of the Archaic and Woodland periods living in the mid-Atlantic region used pottery for storage containers and for cooking vessels for thousands of years. To produce these pots, small ground up stones and vegetable fibers were added to clay to create the pottery medium. These additions to the natural clay prevented cracking when the clay dried. Women molded the clay into desired shaped by hand. Once dried, the pots were then fired. If the pot was not properly dried, any water left in the clay would cause it to shatter during the firing process. To prevent this, pots were first air dried then placed near a fire where they were gradually heated to dispel any remaining moisture. Once dried, the pots were fired by covering them with burnable materials, such as bark and dried corncobs, which was then ignited. The fire would be fueled until the pots became a durable ceramic. No kilns, pottery wheels or decorative glazes were used in the ceramic process of the mid-Atlantic indigenous people. Pottery was typically used for utilitarian purposes up until about 1000 years ago during the Late Woodland Period when ornamentation became common. Most decoration consisted of scoring and puncturing the surface of the clay, coiling the clay, and cord embossing. Decorations were typically focused around the rim of the pots and commonly consisted of linear geometric patterns. The variety of patterns has allowed archeologists to create timelines as well as migratory patterns of the nomadic bands that created them.
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