The pottery dating generates a relative dating system. One can know that pottery t is older than pottery s, which is older than pottery r, but not the exact date. Before the advent of absolute dating systems of tree ring, and semi-absolute dating systems of c14, archaeologists developed an extensive relative dating system with the backbone of the system being pottery.
I think that distinctive to an age pottery use in archeology would be analogous to index fossil use in paleontology. As you said, both are used in stratigraphy relative dating, and once an absolute date can be achieved, then the pottery and the index fossils can also be used as an absolute dating tool.
Perhaps, when dealing with a young Earth creationist, one should focus more on the relative dating. I've gone around with Coyote on this before - I see it as being kind of useless to be citing real world old Earth dates to someone who's operating in an alternate time frame.
It's probably easier in geology relative to archeology, because geologic time ranges are vastly greater than archeology time ranges. The trick is to list a lot of relative dated events - "This happened, then this happened, then this happened, etc., etc., etc.". Then make the case that all those "this happeneds" add up to a long series of events requiring a time frame far greater than the YEC time frame.