The Flint Ridge flint (chert) material was highly prized by early Native Americans, and today it is Ohio’s state gemstone. The material is naturally occurring in southeastern Ohio and is a sedimentary structure, mostly being of silica. It was formed millions of years ago, when what we now know as Ohio was covered in a warm, shallow ocean environment. As sediments and microscopic ocean life collected at the base of these waterbodies, over millions of years of heat and pressure, the beautiful colorful Flint Ridge material was formed. Native peoples traveled and traded for it because of its beauty and the very fine way that it chips – with its unique conchoidal fracturing, very similar to the structure of our modern-day window glass. They would walk miles and miles utilizing ancient foot-pathways high above the rivers and also use waterways with dugout or birchbark canoes to gather this material. Trading for it was also common.
Here we see a fine cache of 21 unique blades of Flint Ridge material. Note the variety in texture and color that is exhibited in this collection, which is offered by this material. At the quarry sites, where the Flint Ridge outcroppings were encountered by the native peoples, blocks of this material were reduced to blades such as these. The blades were then taken back to their campsites, stored, and usually buried for future use. They were stored for safekeeping (in case their camp was ambushed, and sometimes they never came back to finish them) and also, to keep the material fresh and from becoming hard and brittle and so that it may be more easily worked in the future, it was kept out of the general environment.
As is noted on the tag, handwritten by Col. Vietzen, this collection was found by Col. Raymond C. Vietzen, of the Indian Ridge Museum, on the P. Morrison Farm in Licking Co., Ohio in 1945. Licking County is directly in the heart of what is today known as the area that produces the Flint Ridge material. The Flint Ridge general area encompasses about five and one half miles wide by seven and one half miles long in the Licking and Coshocton County area. The important collection was displayed at Vietzen’s Elyria Indian Ridge Museum for many years, until its closure in 1995. It was recently acquired and donated by the Rounds family, to the New Indian Ridge Museum. We are very pleased to be able to preserve and document this important collection.