The Soapstone Quarries

The Pacolet area has one resource that was used by Native Americans for several hundred years. This material is a soft rock called soapstone. Soapstone can be fairly easily carved using stone and antler tools. In the Pacolet vicinity, there are at least 16 locations or “quarries” that were used by the Indians. They used the soapstone to make bowls, other storage vessels and other tools. They started using the quarries some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. There are some bowls or other items that still exist in the quarries, not completely cut from the rock. There is also a lot of chip material left where the items were chiseled out.

One of these quarries is thought to be the largest Native American soapstone quarry in the United States. These quarries are located on both sides of the Pacolet River, north of the town of Pacolet Mills.

The Pacolet Museum has several examples of soapstone vessels made by Indians.

Two of the quarries are now protected within the Pacolet River Heritage Preserve located off of Bethesda Road.
See http://slobotabouttown.com/pacolet_soapstone_quarry.html for photos.



Examples of soapstone bowls

 
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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.