Dorset Soapstone Quarries

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Soapstone was a valuable resource for early peoples. It is soft and can be carved easily. Once heated it becomes very hard and resistant to wear. It was in great demand for making cooking pots.
There is an abandoned quarry site in the small village of Fleur de Lys on the Baie Verte Peninsula which was used by Middle Dorset Palaeoeskimos 1600-1200 years ago.
The quarries are reached by a short path from the museum and interpretation Centre which was shut when we visited although there was a contact phone number on the door if you wanted to go round.
More than 200 rectangular or oval blocks of sandstone were removed from the quarry. There were several work faces and it is easy to recognise the hollows left where the blocks had been removed. They were all beautifully lined up in a checker board pattern. Some of the blocks were still in situ.
There was a certain amount of information on boards around the site. It was an interesting and worthwhile visit.
There was a map showing walks from the quarries but, unusual for Newfoundland, these had not been maintained and were difficult to follow.
There is further information about the soapstone quarries “here”:
For our photograph showing the quarry (and the next picture) click “here”:

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