LYE LEACHING STONES AND SIMILAR CIRCLE AND LINE PETROGLYPHS


Lye leaching stones were used to leach lye from wood ashes. The lye was then used in the soap making process. They were also called potash stones. There are similar stones, especially down south, known as tar burner rocks, where pitch pine was used obtain pine tar. Some stones are also considered cider press stones. Here are are few examples. If anyone knows of any other stones like these, I would love to hear from you. Thank you!

The Groton stone.

Photo by Kristy Holch


The Barkhamsted Reservoir stone.

Photo by Carol A. Hanny

This stone WAS on the eastern side of Barkhamsted Reservoir. It has been removed from its original site. I was told it was to leach lye from wood ashes for soapmaking. A barrel, with holes drilled in the bottom, was fitted into the round groove. Ashes would be placed in the barrel, water poured on top, and the lye would leach out, and collected in a container by the spout on the rock.

The Samuel Peck stone, Harwinton, Connecticut.

Photo by Carol A. Hanny


The South Worthington, Massachusetts stone.

Photo courtesy of George Bresnick


The Mystery Hill Stone.

Photo courtesy of Dave Goudsward


The Leominster, Massachusetts stone.

Photo courtesy of Dave Goudsward


The Westport, Massachusetts stone.

Photo courtesy of Anne Baker


The South Hadley Massachusetts stone.

Photo courtesy of Ken Feder


The East Hartland stone.

Photo courtesy of Ken Feder


The West Hill stone.

Photo by Carol A. Hanny


The Bakerville stone.

Photo by Carol A. Hanny


The Cornwall Hollow stone.

Photo by Carol A. Hanny



The following are circle and line petroglyphs from North Carolina, courtesy of Tom Charles.

Anderson County, North Carolina

Grape Juice Extractor Stone

Greenville County, North Carolina

Oconee County, North Carolina

Circle and Line Petroglyph, North Carolina

Stallings Circle and Line Petroglyph

Circle and Line Petroglyph used as a tombstone.



Bibliography

Euro-American Petroglyphs Associated with Pine Tar Kilns and Lye Leaching Devices in Kentucky by Charles D. Hockensmith, Tennessee Anthropologist, Vol. XI, No. 2, Fall 1986.
Petroglyphs, Tar Burner Rocks, and Lye Leaching Stones by James L. Swauger, Pennsylvania Archaeologist, Vol. 51, April 1981, No. 1-2.
Making Tar by Craig Carlton and Dale Ferguson, in Foxfire 4, edited by Eliot Wigginton, Anchor Press, Garden City, pp. 252-256.
Soapmaking by Andrea Burrell, in The Foxfire Book, edited by Eliot Wigginton, Anchor Press, Garden City, pp. 151-158.
Leaching Lye From Wood Ashes, Countryside and Small Stock Journal, Vol. 82, No. 5. Sept./Oct., 1998. (article first appeared in Countryside in July, 1971.)
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