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Chatham County Historical Association

Preserving and sharing the history of Chatham County North Carolina

Rhyolite Quarried by Native Americans

1 Jan 2023 7:26 PM | Chatham Historical Museum (Administrator)



Aaron Honeycutt shared this fascinating history about the geology of the area.

"Rhyolite, the chosen material for stone tools by The Early Ones was quarried all along the Haw River in what is now North Carolina. Rhyolite is a volcanic rock that has a somewhat glassy texture. Though not as fine a stone for tools as some, within the borders of what is now North Carolina rhyolite was much sought after and is the material that many fine artifacts found today are made of. There are many quarry sites that can be seen in the rivers across North Carolina. This one is in the Haw River in Chatham County a bit up river from Bynum NC. When breaking out a chunk of stone for tool making a heavy harder rock was used to chip off a piece. The pieces that were harvested in this manor would have been reduced there on the river bank to smaller and lighter to carry pieces. Certainly the ground around this place holds MANY flakes from this reduction process. Preforms were made, blades of beauty that might later be taken down to smaller more refined spear points, knives, scrapers and other types of tools. When I visit a quarry site like this one I think about The People, clad in loin cloth (skins) and living on the land in such a natural way. They had no thoughts of accumulating wealth or even planning for old age. Their days were about finding some food, preparing for weather/season change and making the things that made life easier for whatever they planned to do. I love that we can see and touch the evidence of those who lived here before us. We can't see much to remind us of them as they left few scars upon the land but here in the rock we can clearly see the results of the visits by them."

Thanks Aaron!

#ChathamNCHistory #ChathamCountyNC #ChathamHistory #ChathamNC #ChathamNCGeology #Geology #rocks #fossils #NativeAmericanHistory #BynumNC


Chatham County Historical Association

https://chathamhistory.org  ~  history@chathamhistory.org   ~  PO Box 93  ~  Pittsboro NC 27312  ~  919-542-6222  ~  


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