Flint is a type of quartz that is found throughout the world. It is actually a mineral called chert, which comes in a variety of colors. Flint is the name given to the darkest chert that is black or a dark gray. Flint has many uses, from sparking a fire to becoming a tool that ancient Native American Tribes used as a tool. Exercise care in using this type of chert stone. Flint often has very sharp edges that can easily cut through the skin. This trait is the reason people used the rock to create arrowheads for hunting.
What Is Flint
Flintstones are chert, from the silica group of minerals. Chert is comprised of silicon dioxide and other minerals, which are impurities. Pure silicon-dioxide chert is a highly sought-after mineral. The stones belong to the cryptocrystalline quartz family, according to the Authentic Artifacts Collectors Association (AACA). The very small crystals that you can only see by microscope characterize the family. Flint is sedimentary, meaning that the crystals form over time as they are pressed down into the earth. Other chert stones are jasper, agate and petrified wood, according to the AACA.
Flint can be found in the wild spaces of Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The deposits are concentrated in the areas covered by these states, making them great places to start your search. Flint is not found naturally in the western, southwestern or mid-southern regions of the United States.
Although flint is a sedimentary rock, you will not have to dig into the earth in order to find the stones. Instead, walk along a gravel road, looking for gray or black stones that have sharp edges and possibly nodules on the outside. Flint is often mined and used alongside other stones as road gravel. Another great place to find flint is along creek and river beds where water has cut into the rock layers, liberating pieces of flint and other stones. Plowed fields and fresh ditches are other possible places where the sediments have been exposed and the flint more easily found.
Finding Flint Arrowheads
In creek beds, on digs and other areas where you find flint, keep an eye out for small chips of flint. This is a sign that flint arrowheads may have been made in the area. Waterways are the best places to find them. Flint arrowheads are triangular with a sharp point. They may also a tapered base to allow them to be affixed to the arrow. Finding a flint arrowhead isn't a common occurrence, but does happen. Remember that they are artifacts and should be handled carefully. Place them in a case on display or take the to a local archaeological association, college archeology department or history museum for preservation.
In your eagerness to locate flintstones, stick to public lands or gravel roads. If you do feel the need to search private property, get the owner's permission first. Otherwise, you will be trespassing and can be arrested. When looking for arrowheads, steer clear of Native American burial grounds and protected places (although these are the most likely spots to find arrowheads). What you see as digging up an arrowhead could be a crime of desecrating a grave site or another crime on a reservation. You don't want a search for flintstones to turn into legal trouble.
About the Author
Jonita Davis is freelance writer and marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including "The LaPorte County Herald Argus" and Work.com. Davis also authored the book, "Michigan City Marinas," which covers the history of the Michigan City Port Authority. Davis holds a bachelor's degree in English from Purdue University.