Title

Canadian Arctic Soapstone Cooking Technology

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2012

Publication Title

North American Archaeologist

Volume

33

Issue

4

First page number:

429

Last page number:

449

Abstract

This article examines the thermal properties of soapstone in comparison to other materials, to help us explore why Arctic cooks might have elected to use this material for their cooking containers. Low energy water boiling experiments, designed to simulate the low energy, oil-based fuel technologies of the Arctic, were undertaken. The results indicate that compared to metal and ceramic containers, soapstone is better able to store heat. We propose that this property makes soapstone especially useful in Arctic environments, where fuel sources are limited and indigenous heating techniques commonly relied on low energy. By understanding how heat is absorbed into metal, ceramic, and stone containers and how it is subsequently released into water we gain important contextual insights into the technological choices made by Arctic people.

Disciplines

Archaeological Anthropology

Language

English

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