New quarry used by prehistoric people found in Yellowstone
Source material for chert and chalcedony
July 28, 2007
The Billings Gazette had an article on Thursday about a newly discovered rock quarry inside Yellowstone National Park that is believed to be source material for chert and chalcedony, with evidence of prehistoric tool making at the site.
It is known that prehistoric people traveled to the Yellowstone area looking for raw material, particularly obsidian, to use for making stone tools. Evidence of that use traces back to about 12,000 years. The obsidian rock can be analyzed and soourced back to Yellowstone quarries. These obsidian stone tools were highly prized and widely traded among early people. Some tools have been found at sites in states away from the Yellowstone area, giving clues to trading and movement patterns among early people who lived in the northern hemisphere.
The chert and chalcedony is in colors of green, red, blue, orange and translucent white stones. It is not as hard as obsidian, but was still known to have been used in making stone tools by early people who inhabited and traveled through this area.
The site of the new quarry is being kept protected as much more research is still needed on this new discovery.
This is an exciting new discovery that has the potential to add significant more information to the knowledge base about the movements of prehistoric people in the Rocky Mountain area. This new tool site, combined with the wealth of data being discovered in our Upper Green River Valley area, all are adding a wealth of new data to help give broader understanding about the people who lived and traveled through the region.
Click on this link for the full story that appeared in the Billings Gazette online: Quarry in Yellowstone yields clues on prehistoric travel (By Mike Stark, Billings Gazette online, 7/26/07) Editor's Note: External links may not work at some future date beyond the posting of this article.