Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

John D. Richards

Committee Members

Robert J. Jeske, R. Jason Sherman


Ceramics, Middle Woodland, Petrography


This thesis provides a compositional analysis of a selected sample of Middle Woodland ceramic sherds from sites in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The analysis compares the ceramic pastes from Middle Woodland pottery from nine different archaeological sites. These sites include the Peterson, Finch, Alberts, and Crab Apple Point sites in Wisconsin, the Sloan, Albany Village, Blythe, DeWitte/Liphardt Habitation sites in northwestern Illinois, and the Kautz site in northeastern Illinois.

The analysis includes a review of available documentation, as well as descriptions and characterizations of sherds utilizing an attribute-based analysis of metric, morphological, and petrographic data. In southeastern Wisconsin, the Middle Woodland occupation is poorly understood, and sites with Middle Woodland components have been suggested to be part of the Waukesha phase. Haas’s (2019b) recent work at the Finch site has been the first detailed examination of the Waukesha phase since Salzer’s (n.d.) seminal study (Goldstein 1992). Although the phase is considered to represent some degree of interaction with Illinois Havana-Hopewell (Jeske 2006; Mason 2001; Salzer 1986), direct evidence of such interaction is lacking. This analysis provides a comparative dataset to be used in future comparisons of Waukesha Phase ceramics. The results of the petrographic analysis suggest an overall homogeneity of paste composition between the samples selected for this thesis. Statistical analysis of the data was unable to identify specific samples or recipes by region. The results of this project suggest that paste recipes may have been widely shared between people in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois and may indicate existing relationships within groups in the study region.