GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 98-3
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


WALING, Annelise, University of New Hampshire Engineering and Physical Sciences, Durham, NH 03823; Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Clemson University, 342 Computer Ct., Anderson, SC 29625, LAZAR, Kelly, Engineering and Science Education, Clemson University, 262 Sirrine Hall, Clemson, SC 29634-0001; Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, Clemson University, 342 Computer Ct., Anderson, SC 29625 and SMITH, N. Adam, Campbell Geology Museum, Clemson University, 140 Discovery Lane, Clemson, SC 29634

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, millstones played an essential role in food production because of their superior performance in comparison to hand grinding of wheat, spices, and other products. Depending on the quality of rock in the area surrounding a mill, millstones were often imported and transported long distances from the original location of the source rock. Therefore, millstone geology is historically significant and informative regarding pre-industrial preferences for molinological materials.

The goal of this research was to determine the provenance of millstones located at Hagood Mill Historic Site using a novel combination of methods. Chert millstones from Hagood Mill located in Pickens, SC and the Paris Basin (France), and two other chert samples (NY and KY) were sampled and analyzed using XRF and light-density spectroscopy to determine their major and minor elemental compositions and reflectance values, respectively. The samples from Hagood Mill were found to be significantly correlated with the samples from the Paris Basin based on their elemental compositions. The spectral reflectance data yielded similar results visually, though did not prove to be statistically significant. These results are supported by previous paleontological findings indicating that the Hagood millstones contained similar fossils to chert from the Paris Basin. Based on the XRF and paleontological data, there is evidence that the Hagood Mill millstone material originally came from France. This substantiates the preference for French material in millstone construction found in historical references. Additionally, the lack of statistical significant reflectance data could indicate that this method is less robust when used in similar provenance studies. The results of this research help to strengthen the historical knowledge of millstone trading and provide insight into the quality of methods to use in geochemical archaeology.