Date of Award
Master of Science
Otto C. Kopp
L.T. Larson, Harry J. Klepser
Several soapstone artifacts from Late Archaic-Early Woodland archaeological sites in Tennessee and ten soapstone deposits, two in South Carolina and eight in North Carolina were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, X-ray spectroscopy and petrographically in an attempt to correlate the artifacts and deposits. The data show that two of the deposits, Shelton Mine and Watermellon Branch, exhibit the best correlation with some of the artifacts. However, the evidence isn't conclusive.
Petrographic analysis revealed that the deposits and artifacts consist of one of two distinct mineral assemblages, one consisting of talc, chlorite, and anthophyllite, and a second in which talc, chlorite, and tremolite-actinolite comprise the assemblage. Two deposits, Leiceister #2 and Hammett Grove also contain appreciable biotite. No biotite is present in any of the artifacts. The deposits and artifacts possess textures ranging from strongly foliated, as in the Leiceister #2 deposit, to a massive or granoblastic texture, as in some of the Watermellon Branch samples.
Spectrographic analysis show that Cr, Mn, Ni, and Zn are the dominant trace elements present in the deposits and artifacts, with Cu, Sr, and Rb occurring in much smaller amounts. Five deposits have an average Ti content of less than 250 ppm while two deposits, Watermellon Branch and the Shelton Mine contain an average of 1863 and 800 ppm Ti, respectively. All of the artifacts except for the Polk, Campbell, and Jefferson County artifacts also contain appreciable Ti.
Although the purpose of this study was an attempt to correlate the artifacts and deposits, the data gathered also indicate that the deposits were derived from the alteration of an ultrabasic igneous rock rather than from a metasomatized carbonate.
Bohanan, Earl Roger, "A Petrographic and Spectrographic Analysis of Several Soapstone Artifacts from Tennessee and Soapstone Deposits in North Carolina and South Carolina: in an Attempt to Determine the Source Area of the Artifacts. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1975.