In the early nineteenth century, mills were such a ubiquitous part of the American landscape that no one was unaware of or unaffected by them. Dozens of indispensable items were made possible by mills - from the bread served at every meal to the boards used to construct houses and other buildings. Millstones were an integral part of the mill operation, as necessary as the mill dam or the mill building itself. They were the incomparable workhorse component of the mill, and the cost of maintaining or replacing worn-out millstones constituted a significant proportion of a mill's cost of operation. Because millstones went through so much daily wear and tear, only certain types of rock formations were suitable for millstone quarries. Though they were often located in remote places that were difficult to locate and access, these quarries played an immeasurable role in keeping the mill industry alive.This book provides an archaeological and historical study of six millstone quarries in Powell County, Kentucky. While the best-known conglomerate millstone quarries were in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Powell County was an important millstone producer for Kentucky, and the quarries there are well-preserved and documented. The Powell County quarries provide the first detailed view of millstone manufacturing based on archaeological evidence, and this book combines a study of the archaeological remains found at the quarries with a discussion of the archival records discovered. Featuring dozens of photographs and tables, two maps, and seven appendices, this study presents an exhaustive study of the Powell County quarries within the context of the Kentucky conglomerate millstone industry and within the larger conglomerate millstone industry of the United States.
Charles D. Hockensmith has worked as a staff archaeologist with the Kentucky Heritage Council for more than 26 years. He has published extensively on several historic industries with special emphasis on millstone quarries, bricks manufacturing, and lime kilns.