Posted on 08/19/2008

Photo taken on August  3, 2008

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Tar Pit

Tar Pit
The vague circular depression is a 15' diameter pit used to produce pine tar, which is used as (among other things) a preservative on plank roofs and other wooden structures. When needed, the turf is cut and removed to reveal a flagstone bowl set into the ground. Pitchy parts of trees are chopped and stacked in the bowl, and then covered with wet seaweed and turf. The wood is then set on fire, and the seaweed and turf around the perimeter of the bowl is positioned to permit only a limited amount of air to reach the fire. As the fire smolders, tar is released from the wood and collects at the bottom of the pit, where it drains through a small hole into a hollowed-out log for collection. The wood in turn is cooked into charcoal by the process.

The pit was located across the street from Nystugu, and is/was used communally by several neigboring farms.