Quartz is semi-common yet not abundant like granite, the most common stone material in New England. The limited quantities of quartz and its general crystal-like appearance made this stone material special.
Its usage at America’s Stonehenge is the broadest found so far. When placed in a stone wall it was used to block out uninvited spirits. Its use in a spirit portal shows the invited spirit could pass through while the uninvited spirit(s) could not pass through. A stone with crackled clear and rust colored quartz was used to represent the Crystal Spirit. This indicates the Native Americans were aware of the association of quartz and quartz crystals. At the quartz quarry the people found an Underworld spirit portal. They in turn built a niche out of quartz with a triangular topped roof stone. Each time they quarried the quartz they called the Underworld Spirit to be present during their activity. The quartz was first of all coming out of the Underworld (underground per se). Second it was to be used for symbolic protection on site. Regular granite stones with specific shapes were also used for symbolic protection on site and quarried on site yet no other quarrying area has a spirit portal and niche set up. This sets the quartz off from other stone materials. Quartz was special and treated with reverence.
In southern New England at Gungywamp in Connecticut a large slab of quartz was quarried approximately a quarter mile away and dragged over to a chamber where it was used to permanently close the entrance. Here the people made an extra effort to get a specialized type of stone. It is similar to what occurred at America’s Stonehenge in New Hampshire.
Throughout New England pieces of quartz of all colors are found as one to a few pieces of specialized stone on top of cairns. It is a widespread practice.
Quartz was a common local stone material used to make common small projectile points. The properties of quartz permitted it to be flaked and worked into projectile points. In that capacity quartz does not appear to be a special stone or was it? Stone pestles and gouges have been found with images. An image imparts the actual spirit. Pottery was given a mark that placed a spirit within the vessel. (Kazimiroff, 1982) Pottery vessels with holes have been found in burials to release the spirit within the vessel. To the Native American many, possibly all, objects contained a spirit. If that is the case, then the common small quartz projectile point contained a spirit. The spirit could have been the spirit of the hunt, the spirit of the hunter, or the spirit of stone which could be directed. A projectile point with a spirit is not simply a utilitarian object. It has specialized qualities and a spirit who can be directed to kill to provide food for the people. It falls into a similar category as the quarried quartz stone used for symbolic protection.
Quartz was a versatile type of stone material useful for utilitarian and ceremonial objects. It was a local semi-common stone that stood out from the abundant granite. Because it stood out and was semi-common, verses being abundant quartz became a specialized stone material. It also produced quartz crystals which were revered and sacred.