|Close-up of flint boulder.|
Flint Ridge is a chain of long, narrow hills extending from a few miles east of Newark almost to Zanesville, a distance of more than twenty miles. The surface of these hills is underlaid with an irregular layer of flint, which may be only a few inches or several feet in thickness and varies greatly in color and texture. In many places along this ridge the soil has been eroded revealing the underlying flint.
Flint is formed by a geologic process whereby the softer limestones and shales are replaced with much harder silica. Due to its high quartz content, flint polishes beautifully and exceptional pieces of jewelry can be made from it. The 106th General Assembly designated flint as Ohio's official gem stone in 1965 because of its occurrence in several parts of Ohio, particularly Flint Ridge, and because of its importance as a semi-precious gem stone.
Flint is both hard and brittle and thus can be broken into pieces that have razor sharp edges. For this reason Indians as long as 9000 years ago traveled to this ridge to secure the rock for making projectile points, knives, and scrapers. The area is now covered with hundreds of shallow pits from which flint has been quarried through the ages; several are visible along the trails. The pre-historic Indians broke off chunks of flint with stone mauls or pried them out of the pits with wooden poles. They broke the chunks into usable pieces with hammerstones, and then proceeded to chip the flint for various purposes.