Friday, August 3, 2007

Tallahatta Quartzite Quarry Site in East Central Mississippi

TQ quarry site in Mississippi

Native American Tallahatta Quartzite Quarry Site

I recently visited an important archaeological site in east central Mississippi with some of my professional archaeologist buddies. I had first gone to this rare stone quarry site around 15 years ago and this was my first time to come back since then. Tallahatta quartzite has been quarried there for over 10,000 years. In this area of east central Mississippi most of the Native American stone artifacts are made from this material.

tallahatta outcrop tallahatta quartzite outcrop
This archaeological site is important because it is both rare and extensive. Tallahatta quartzite is only found in the tallahatta formation in east central Mississippi and southwest Alabama. This site covers a large area because there is not only the outcrop but also the locations around it where the stone was worked. Most of the artifacts found near the outcrop are not finished tools but preforms and small flakes that were used to make other tools.

archaeological quarry site in Mississippi

The TQ outcrop here is a horizontal tabular layer within a sedimentary claystone formation that is along and above a small creek. Worked pieces of this stone can be found on the ground for some distance from the outcrop itself. In creek profiles these stone artifacts extend down to a depth of several feet. TQ generally has a white sugar-like appearance but can come in many colors such as grey, black or red. It was the only stone is the general vicinity that could be used to make stone tools because it exhibits a conical fracture which is necessary for knapping. TQ was used in trade throughout the Southeastern US.

tallahatta quartzite artifacts from this site

For more information about tallahatta quartzite check out Tallahatta Sandstone . This page is published by the University of South Alabama and they call the material Tallahatta Sandstone.

Knapping Tallahatta Quartzite is a link to a YouTube video of TQ being worked into a projectile point.

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