... and it is the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument located 35 miles north of Amarillo.
I'm going to cheat this week by copying from the information on the National Park Service website, which can be found here. The god news behind my lazy MTM post is that I've captured my writing muse and put her in a mason jar. Yeah I punched enough holes in the lid so she can breath, but until she escapes I'm going to keep hard at work my creative non-fiction project.
AlibatesImagine yourself standing where an ancient civilization once lived, surrounded by colorful flint that was used to make weapons and tools. Alibates flint is a multi-colored stone with the ability to hold a sharp edge. Alibates flint was highly prized and traded throughout much of North America.
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. Between 1150 and 1450, Indians identified as the Plains Village Indians, ancestors of Caddo, Pawnee and Wichita Indians, lived here in large permanent villages and smaller, outlying farming and gathering communities. Villages were built of rock-slab houses from one to 100 rooms. Most were single-unit dwellings although some rooms were connected. Architecture of this period featured rectangular, semi-circular rooms with funneled entranceways and stone enclosures. It is believed that extensive severe drought, coupled with raids from aggressive tribes, probably Apache, from the west drove these indians out of this region by the end of the 15th century.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument offer tours year round by reservation only. Tours usually go at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Extreme weather conditions such as 100 degree temperatures, lightning, tornadoes, etc. may cause tours to be canceled on short notice. Reservations may be made by calling Park Headquarters, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, at (806) 857-3151 or writing the Superintendent, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, P.O. Box 1460, Fritch, Texas 79036.
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