Pieces of baked clay are commonly found on many archaeological sites, not only in Oklahoma but elsewhere. Very often such pieces of burned clay are hard to identify as they could come from fire hearths, clay floors, daub, or almost anywhere on the site where fire had baked the clay hard enough to survive over the years. It is common to refer to all pieces of baked clay as "daub" but this term should be used only for baked clay that was used as daub in the "wattle and daub" method of house construction.
In this wattle and daub method of construction the walls of the structure were formed of wood, sticks, vines, or various materials which provided the framework. This framework or "wattle" was then covered with clay or "daub" which formed the walls of the structure. Roofs were commonly grass thatch placed on top of a wooden framework of poles and cane. The roof structure was supported by interior roof posts or merely rested on the wattle and daub walls.
This construction was common in Oklahoma with upright wooden posts placed a few inches apart providing the reinforcement for a wattle type of wall. This wall was then coated with daub to form a satisfactory wall. The use of daub was somewhat analogous to the chinking that is done in log cabin construction. Daub, consequently, should show the impressions of the wattle in order to be certain that it was used for this purpose.
Two general kinds of daub are found on sites in Oklahoma (Figure 44). The earliest type is chiefly clay and displays stick or cane impressions; some plant material, small stones, or other debris may be included. The impressions are from 10 mm to 25 mm in diameter and are most commonly from cane as the joint section is often imprinted in the daub. From impressions on daub specimens, it appears that the canes were placed close together, probably touching each other, and served to support the clay daub which was packed around them in the wall. This cane or stick impressed daub is typical of the early Caddoan village sites in the Arkansas valley.
The later type of daub is marked by the abundance of grass stem impressions present in the clay. The grass stems lie parallel to each other giving the impression that the daub was built up by placing a layer of grass, covering it over with clay, and then repeating this process over and over again to form the wall. Although wattle impressions sometimes occur, the methods of handling the clay daub appear to be different from earlier times. The grass impressed daub appears to be more typical of late Caddoan times.
The presence of daub indicates the former existence of a house or structure of some type and is a useful clue in surveyor site assessment.