Plantation Pottery Traditions of Northwest Louisiana at the End of the Eighteenth Century
This chapter uses archival and archaeological data to identify the broad range of cultural trajectories that may have contributed to the creolization of the colonoware assemblage present at the Whittington site in Louisiana. Between 1788 and 1816 this site was the plantation residence of Marie-Thérèse Coincoin, a formerly enslaved woman of African parentage who found freedom through an extended liaison with a French bourgeois. Analysis focuses on colonowares deposited in a single household midden feature dating ca. 1788-1794, yet even such a narrow time slice produces a prodigious web of possible contributions. The most common colonoware vessels in this midden are bowls, especially with everted, folded rims and rounded lips. Some of the decorated pottery from the assemblage has strong Native American connections, especially in terms of the types Natchitoches Engraved and Chickachae Combed. It is worth noting, however, that some of the red and black slipped techniques and their fabrics have parallels with coeval West and Central African wares. While the slipped vessels, including ‘untempered’ vessels, could be speculatively viewed as African contributions to creolized assemblages, the majority of vessels resemble an array of Native American wares, and it is likely that the Coincoin assemblage had many makers of different ethnicity.
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