Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Anthropology (MS)


College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher R. Moore

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Jefferies

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher W. Schmidt


The nature and timing of the transition between Late Prehistoric Irene ceramics and Mission period Altamaha ceramics are not well understood. Archaeologists in the Southeast debate over the what caused coastal Guale groups to adopt new motifs and decorative styles, but these changes have often been attributed to Spanish interaction. I have conducted excavations and analysis of Irene, Altamaha, and possible transitional contexts at Site 9Mc23 on Sapelo Island, in hopes of better understanding these changes. These comparisons suggest that there is something unique about the “possibly transitional” context. Chi-square tests indicate that it may be possible to identify transitional assemblages based on land and groove width, and surface treatment. No significant patterns were revealed through thin section analysis and comparisons of temper. I used Scanning Electron Microscope analysis to evaluate changes in slip technologies between these periods and revealed that Altamaha red filmed sherds are the only sherds that contain a true slip. This suggests a change in technology that is highly visible and may be associated with the Spanish. Unfortunately, sample sizes for transitional sherds were small. The excavation of more possible transitional contexts is needed to fully understand their significance, and more radiocarbon dates for Irene and possible transitional contexts are needed to fully understand the timing of this transition.