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Scattered across more than 2,000 acres of ridge top in the Appalachian foothills, Flint Ridge has been called the “Great Indian Quarry of Ohio.” More than 10,000 years ago, Native Americans quarried flint from pits here.
To get at it, they took granite or quartzite blocks that weighed up to 25 pounds to hammer bones or wood into natural cracks in the flint. The smaller blocks that came loose as a result were then chipped into even smaller pieces with antler hammers. These were then turned into hunting or other tools and transported to faraway villages.
Flint was a key component to the Native American's survival. It was fashioned into knives, spearpoints, arrowheads, jewelry and ceremonial objects that were then traded for copper, mica and shells. Flint Ridge's flint seems to have been well known in the ancient world, as small amounts of it have been found at American Indian sites across the present-day eastern United States.
Flint Ridge still has a nearly eight-mile-long vein of high-quality flint. It's hundreds of remaining quarry pits and workshop sites were mined by Native Americans all those years ago. The unique rainbow-colored flint from here comes in a variety of colors including pink, gray, white, black and copper. It has a high quartz content that shines when polished, making it a highly valued material both then and now.
Today, many people enjoy hiking the trails of this 533-acre nature preserve to search for the ancient pits quarried by America Indians. It is also interesting to visit the museum to learn about Ohio’s official gemstone and the shaping of flint into tools, known as knapping. Note that removing any flint from the site is prohibited, but pieces are available for sale in the gift shop.
Cover photo credit: ernieraber via Instagram.