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Both the Indian and Euro-American residents made and used pottery. The oldest Indian pottery in the state so far is from Woodland period sites dating back to about 200 B.C. It was made of local clays with a tempering agent of crushed granite, sand, or shells. Each pot was modeled by hand using the paddle-and-anvil method. The paddles were either bare or grooved wood; often they were wrapped with twine or cord, which left a distinctive texture on the surface. Pot rims were decorated in a variety of methods, including finger pinching, bone or wood tool impressions, or cord wrapping. The quality, shape, and decoration of the pots varied through time. This variety helps archaeologists to identify and classify those ancient societies which left no written records.

The pottery was fired at low temperature in either brush or dried buffalo droppings. It is porous and very brittle.

Here are some examples of the pots in our collection. Just click on any of the small pictures to learn more:

217 Kansas City St., Rapid City, SD 57701  Map  or PO Box 1257, Rapid City, SD 57709-1257
Ph. 1-605-394-1936 Fax 1-605-394-1941

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