Native American Pottery

By William T. Hathaway

Pottery shards

This is a combination of pictures taken from the Westbrook collection of so-called “Indian” pottery. The late naturalist Johnny Westbrook spent several decades in past years searching for ancient artifacts. His pottery shards were mostly found in sandy fields alongside rivers and creeks. He often told students that for every hundred shards found, only a couple might bear recognizable designs.

Native American camp sites and workshop locations are fairly well known to many local farmers. [See also “Rediscovering Pittsylvania's ‘Missing’ Native Americans.”] The best time to search for artifacts is after the crops have been harvested, dry wintertime days being ideal. Also, anyone willing to tread softly in fallow fields may spin a thread of discovery. The dedicated searcher who finds an unusual pottery shard begets tons of excitement.