FLINT RIDGE, COSHOCTON
Here a deposit of beautiful, hard, sharp, rainbow-colored flint lies close to the surface, where Native peoples have been mining it for thousands of years. The forested ridge-top is strewn with the water-filled pits where extraction has been taking place for millennia. A museum interprets the site, exhibits samples, and organizes public events where it is possible to watch modern expert “flintknappers” demonstrating the ancient techniques of fashioning the stone into beautiful shapes.
Flint Ridge was less than a day’s walk from Newark, and one of ancient North America’s greatest treasure sources. From its many pits, generations of Natives obtained beautiful, multicolored flint for shaping into weapons and tools, as early as 10,000 years before the nearby earthworks were built. They broke out chunks using heavy boulders and levers, then with care and skill chipped them into beautiful shapes.
An unusual building here was in use for a long time, perhaps a temple to enshrine the spirit of the place. Its thick walls surrounded visitors with precious flint. Eventually, two people were entombed in here, and the walls mounded with earth, carefully dotted with sets of flint blades.
The Newark earthworks were built on the closest flat river terrace to Flint Ridge. It may be that the earthworks were planned as a place of gathering and ceremony in connection with this natural source. Over time, visitors and trade spread Flint Ridge flint all over ancient North America.