by Matthew T. Boulanger, Archaeometry Laboratory, University of Missouri Research Reactor and Thomas R. Jamison, Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc., Putney, Vermont
Archaeologists are particularly interested in identifying evidence of prehistoric long-distance trade and exchange, and artifacts made from stone are some of the best records of such exchange because they can be traced back to specific geological outcrops. Archaeologists often develop an intuitive knowledge about the types of stone and their potential sources that were used prehistorically. In Vermont for example, most archaeologists recognize quartzite from the Cheshire formation or chert from the Champlain Valley. But, when archaeologists encounter an artifact made from stone not found in their region of inquiry, they use the term “exotic” to describe it.
Occurrences of so-called exotic artifacts are not uncommon in Vermont.