The making of pottery was well on its way to becoming a lost Seminole art by the late eighteenth century, when William Bartram reported in his Travels that the Seminoles made baskets but bought their domestic utensils from the whites ( 1955, 168, 182). Although some women were still making a few pottery containers, durable big black kettles of cast iron had basically replaced the breakable ceramics of Seminole manufacture.
Most of the available information about Seminole pottery exists in fairly dry and technical archaeological or anthropological reports. Pottery is rarely included in exhibitions of Seminole art or even in more general written descriptions of their culture. This is not without good reason: the pottery vessels and potsherds that have been identified as Seminole are for the most part undecorated and lack aesthetic appeal. In spite of this, Seminole pottery should not go unmentioned, because variations within the ceramic arts are considered important markers of cultural diversity. In the case of the Seminoles, changes in pottery reflect the drastic new developments that were taking place in their culture during the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century.
The prehistoric ancestors of the Seminoles and Miccosukees were very skilled in the ceramic arts. Ceramic vessels found at sites dating to the Mississippi Culture period come in many shapes. Some were decorated with stamped textile impressions or simple markings while others reveal an extensive iconography of well-executed designs. Imaginative ceramic figures have also been found at Mississippian sites in considerable number. The decentralization of the Southeastern cultural centers was, however, accompanied by a decline in ceramic skills, which perhaps began even before the arrival of the Europeans.