Fragmentary Soapstone Bowls


Fragmentary 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 steatite bowls that were broken at a quarry site and left as refuse. Trace element testing has shown that the central Piedmont 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 - 1300 B.C.E.


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


Central Virginian Piedmont