The development of the Woodland and Mississippian Traditions can best be traced in the evolution of pottery forms through time. The transition from tending wild plants to full scale agriculture coinicides with the need to store grains and seeds thus the introduction of pottery into the region. By evaluating changes in vessel forms and decorative techniques, it is possible to understand how the people of each region combined the elements of these two traditions into their own local variants.
During the Woodland Period, ceramic production was a relatively new concept and there were not a large variety of vessel forms. Bowls were often carved of soapstone rather than ceramic and those that were ceramic were of the simplest types. The evidence of a variety of trading was prevalent toward the end of this period and into the Mississippian Period.
Jars were the most common vessel form during this early period. Some had flat bottoms or were formed with four short legs. The most common type and always an indicator of the Woodland period was the "conoidal-based" pot as it was rather uncommon in later periods.