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Subject: Pine tar and lye soap

Pine tar and lye soap

From: J. Claire Dean <clairedean>
Date: Wednesday, August 12, 1998
I am posting the following from the Rock Art Discussion List on
behalf of an archaeologist colleague who does not subscribe to the
Cons DistList.  If anyone can help I would be happy to pass on the
information to him.

    I am searching for information about the process of small scale
    pine tar extraction in Europe prior to the 20th century,
    particularly in Scotland, Ireland and England. This is farm
    level industry I am talking about, not commercial. I also need
    information about the process of producing lye water for soap
    making at the family level in Europe.  (I need as much technical
    details as possible.)

    So, what's this got to do with rock art? Well it seems that some
    of the early European settlers in the Appalachian Mountain
    region of the eastern United States were into using rocks with a
    carving very similiar to the "peace" sign in the process of tar
    and lye water manufacture. Present day researchers call these
    carvings "tar burner rocks" and consider them to be
    "Euro-American Petroglyphs".  We know these carvings have been
    around for over two hundred years and I am trying to determine
    if this methodology of tar extraction was brought over by
    immigrants, invented independently by those people after they
    settled the back country, or if it may have been a Native
    American carving that European settlers adapted to their process
    of tar extraction. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:20
                Distributed: Wednesday, August 26, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-20-018
Received on Wednesday, 12 August, 1998

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