Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/599

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581
ABORIGINAL POTTERY.

warp when twisted being about one-eighth of an inch, and the woof from one-twelfth to one-tenth of an inch in diameter. It will be observed that the twist of the warp is continuous, while that of the woof terminates at, or is lost in, the warp.

The finest specimen I have has ten threads of warp to the inch, with a woof or filling of from thirty to thirty-four. Fig. 2 is a portion of it, showing the texture, which, though exceedingly close in the filling, is plainly impressed on the clay, even showing the twist of the threads and the crimping of the cloth as bound round the vessel.

The exception referred to is a square-mesh net. The squares are one-fourth of an inch; the threads in thickness about equal to No. 6 sewing-cotton; and the knots at the corners of the meshes are very distinctly marked.

Fig, 3. represents the first piece that I found giving any idea of the union of the bandage, which in this case appears to have been by the intervention of a stick to which the threads were fastened.

Fig. 4 is a piece of the rim of a vessel where the bandage has been united by twisting.

Fig. 5 is a similar piece, showing where two pieces of cloth of different texture have been united, and the obliquity of the threads to the rim caused by the hemispherical form of the vessel.

Fig. 6 shows varieties in the pattern of the cloth.

On none of the specimens do I find impressions of cloth woven as delineated by Mr. Foster (p. 225), as cloth from the mounds of Butler and Jackson Counties, Ohio.

Most of the fragments of the large vessels are of a leaden-clay color, and, where reddened by heat, it is more on the inside than on the outside. Some specimens that 1 found in the woods showed signs of the action of fire on the portions projecting above the ground, from the frequent burning of the woods. Where reddened by heat, most of the markings have been thrown off.

This and other considerations lead me to doubt a burning or baking process ever having been applied to them, and I do not think it would have been possible in open fires. The unequal heat would have caused unequal expansion and contraction, and consequent cracking.

It is evident that they are composed of a cement of siliceous clay and slightly-calcined shells. None of the pieces will stand a high heat and afterward moisture. I have heated to redness large pieces, that, on fracturing, I found to contain portions of coarsely-pounded shells (flakes as large as one-fourth of an inch frequently occurring). On cooling, they were about the color of common salmon-brick; when moistened, they at once fall to pieces by the slacking of the shell-lime; and when exposed to the air they gradually waste away, the lime only slacking and causing disintegration as it absorbs moisture from the air.