Document Type


Publication Date



Earth Sciences



Publication Title

Quarterly Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Virginia


The goal of this paper is to determine the provenance of the stone pavers in the floor of Christ Church in Lancaster County. The church, finished in 1735, has cross-shaped aisles paved with fossiliferous limestone blocks. The geology of Virginia eliminates any potential local source for the stones. Historical documents suggest an English source. The distinctive clam and oyster fossils exposed in the stone pavers of the church allowed identification of the source rock: the Intermarine Member of the Durlston Formation of the Purbeck Limestone Group. These limestones are of Early Cretaceous age and outcrop along the Dorset coast of southern England. Known in the commercial quarrying industry as Purbeck Stone, these limestones were used extensively as paving stones in England and were exported to the North American colonies. Historical and archeological evidence suggest the stone pavers were not directly imported for use in Christ Church but were reused from the nearby Corotoman mansion which burned in 1729.


This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit The Archeological Society of Virginia's Website.

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