Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

History

History & Culture

Archeological traces of prehistoric Indians homes, workshops, and campsites dot the entire Canadian River region of the Texas Panhandle but few sites are as dramatic as Alibates Flint Quarries. Actually an agatized, or silicafied dolomite, the flint is distinctive for its many bright colors.  This flint comes from a 10-square mile area around the monument but most is concentrated on about 60 acres atop a mesa in the heart of the 1,000 acre monument. More than 700 hundred quarries exist where this flint was dug out by hand. The quarries today are usually round ovals about six or more feet in diameter with depressions in the center.  As soil washes in by rain, and blown in by wind, it fills the once four to eight foot deep holes. Unweathered flint was obtained by digging a foot or more below the surface.  The flint bearing dolomite layers are up to eight feet thick. Tools made from Alibates Flint have been found in many places in the Great Plains and Southwest. It's use dates from 13,000 years ago to about 1870.