Native American Puzzle


While rehousing (assessing and repackaging) a collection of prehistoric artifacts, the Curation staff at the MAC Lab discovered something verrrry interesting. The collection, from a Native American site on Mason Island (located in a chain of islands in the Potomac River), included many clay pottery sherds packaged separately, as if each came from a different vessel. Sharp-eyed State Curators noticed that the pieces fit together, like a large jigsaw puzzle, into what appears to be three unusually large pots. Two of the pots are tempered with crushed quartz and the third is shell tempered. All appear to be from the Late Woodland period (900 A.D. – 1600 A.D.) and are decorated with cord wrapped stick impressions.


Several fragments have drilled holes that would have been used for mending or suspension of the vessel.


These sherds, from one of the quartz tempered vessels, measure approx. 36”L and 17”H.

Reassembled, that’s a big pot!