|Paoli chert in limestone -Menifee Co.|
Moving forward in time, the three of us began to notice that a certain textured, color and type of flint was found associated with a single type of limestone. The first type that stood out was one found deposited in a formation of limestone named Paoli. The limestone had long been established as a particular rock formation generally exposed as outcrops along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau and also in Indiana.
The flint (chert) was distinct in nature when it came to chipping. A very glassy texture but had peculiar requirements if shaped into a stone tool. And it seemed to be the same everywhere this type of flint was found either still in the limestone rock or eroded out into nearby creeks. After many tests and cross checks we felt comfortable enough to identify any stone tool or piece of flint that fit the criteria we established as Paoli. There were many other kinds but put them in a pile and the three of us could pick out flint that we called Paoli from that pile. It was a short step for us to reason that why not try to find sources and type the other flint types from our area. We knew that we could not type everything because some of the flint obviously was traded from outside the region. This, of course, made our quest all the more tantalizing as we could help understand trading routes, establish percentage estimates of trading by a particular site etc. So our first type was established.
|St. Louis green. This specimen has hole|
naturally formed. From Powell Co.
|Boyle Chert in Dolomite|
contains random fossil fragments. These days all the once good outcrops seemed to have been destroyed or simply worked out over the years.
Artifacts made of the better quality of this flint type are often remarkably beautiful.
The final type of flint and the last one we typed in eastern Kentucky was one we called the Breathitt flint. Of the the five we typed this one is the only exception to the limestone source rule. This flint was discovered to be found in the Pennsylvanian rock types of the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky. Massive formations of the flint were exposed for study from the strip mining in the area. Artifacts have been found made of this type but no one really understood the source material. The Flint Ridge flint was by far the most massive amount of layered flint of all the sources mentioned here. Now those massive outcrops are all gone being removed by the coal companies. Only eroded sources in the small streams can be found now. This type of flint was found in a variety of colors including shades of green, black and tan. The defining characteristic of this type was the grainy texture as well as its flaking behavior. The Breathitt Flint Ridge type was and still remains the most difficult of the five types to be identified.
|Breathitt Flint Ridge|
From there other students and scholars began to seriously try to type various flints. Literally dozens of flint types have been identified in Kentucky alone and hundreds world wide. But to our knowledge it all "officially" started right here in Kentucky. Now-days no serious archaeological investigation would even consider leaving out attempts to classify flint types in order to identify possible routes and trading patterns. So much has been learned and much more yet to be discovered by simply understanding the sources of the raw materials used by the early peoples of any part of the world. We had a great time exploring this idea way back in the 70's!