The Walter Landgraf Soapstone Quarry State Archaeological Preserve: Honoring a Man and Preserving a Site
Author(s): Jennifer Davis
Soapstone was a valuable raw material for the production of items used in food preparation, including cooking vessels, in eastern North America before the development and spread of ceramic technology. Durable, waterproof, fireproof, nearly impervious to thermal shock and, at the same time, soft and very easy to extract and then sculpt into a desired shape the demand for this raw material was high but supply was geographically constrained. Designated a Connecticut State Archaeological Preserve in 2015, the Walter Landgraf Soapstone Quarry is an intact soapstone extraction site associated with a habitation, the Ragged Mountain Rockshelter. At least five unfinished and "unharvested" bowl forms are visible at Locus II, the primary soapstone source at the site. Excavation of the quarry, the discovery of numerous, primarily quartzite quarry picks, and a series of quartzite cobble workshops nearby the quarry provides an opportunity to investigate an important, multi-tiered industry in ancient Connecticut. The concept of "disruptive innovation" as initiated by the introduction of ceramic technology is offered to explain the abandonment of the Walter Landgraf quarry more than 2,800 years ago.
Cite this Record
The Walter Landgraf Soapstone Quarry State Archaeological Preserve: Honoring a Man and Preserving a Site. Jennifer Davis. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444323)
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Abstract Id(s): 20035