Unfinished Soapstone Bowls


Unfinished Soapstone Bowls


Archaeologists know that steatite, or soapstone, was an important material for people living in the Late Archaic period. This illustration shows some examples of unfinished soapstone bowls that were produced in the central Piedmont. Finished bowls were traded widely throughout Virginia. Trace element testing has shown that the this region was the source of many soapstone bowls that were found hundreds of miles to the East on the Coastal Plain, where such stone is not available naturally. Archaeologists suspect that soapstone vessels were the precursors to ceramic technology.

Date Created

3000 - 1200 B.C.E.


J. W. Powell, Fifteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution


Scanned illustration

Physical Dimension

671 × 1032


Central Virginian Piedmont