BLTC Press Titles

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The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Characters of Theophrastus


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

Certain mounds and village sites in Ohio ...

by William Corless Mills


F1g. 3. Complete buhr-stone made by Mr. Samuel Drumm. To the left in Fig. ,'i is a partly shaped buhr-stone from the farm of Mr. George Fisher.

tances would be traveled to find such a mill; consequently the small hand mill made from Flint Ridge flint was very desirable, and the manufacture of the buhr-stones proved to be a very lucrative industry. The buhr-stones manufactured at the Drumm site were sent to a point on the Old National Road, three miles to the south, where they were transported by ox teams as far west as the Mississippi River and as far east as Pittsburgh.

The preliminary examination of numerous quarries upon Flint Ridge made it apparent that the solution of the problem of quarrying the flint was unsolved and, to arrive at any definite conclusions, a systematic study of the entire area was necessary. Consequently the field of investigation was extended to every part of the ridge where primitive man attempted to quarry and make use of the flint.


As a preliminary step to a study of the evidence of human industry on Flint Ridge, it is very important that the geology of the place be reviewed. Aboriginal flint quarries have long been known at Flint Ridge, but prior to 1830 little was known to the scientist concerning the geology of this region. The first writer referring to the aboriginal quarries was Caleb Atwater in his "Western Antiquities", page 28, as follows:

"A few miles below Newark, on the south side of the Licking, are some of the most extraordinary holes, dug in the earth, for number and depth, of any within my knowledge, which belonged to the people we are treating of. In popular language, they are called 'wells' but were not dug for the purpose of procuring water, either fresh or salt.

"There are at least a thousand of these 'wells'; many of them are now more than twenty feet in depth. A great deal of curiosity has been excited, as to the objects . >ught for by the people who dug these holes. One gentlemen nearly ruined himself by digging in and about these works, in quest of the precious metals; but he found nothing very precious. I have been at the pains to obtain specimens of all the minerals, in and near these wells. They have not all of them been put to proper tests; but I can say, that rock crystals, some of them very beautiful, and horn stone, suitable for arrow and spear heads, and a little lead, sulphur, and iron, was all that I could ascertain correctly to belong to the specimens in my possession. Rock crystals, and stone arrow and spear heads, were in great repute among them, if we are to judge from the numbers of them found in such of the mounds as were common cemeteries. To a rude people, nothing would stand a better chance of being esteemed, as an ornament, than such articles.

"On the whole, I am of the opinion, that these holes were dug for the purpose of procuring the articles above named; and that it is highly probable a vast population, once here, procured these, in their estimation, highly ornamental and useful articles. And it is possible that they might have procured some lead here, though by no means probable, because we no where find any lead which ever belonged to them, and it will not very soon, like iron, become an oxide, by rusting."

In 1836 the first geological survey of Ohio was published, in which Dr. Hildreth calls attention to the flint quarries in Ohio and comments on their great extent, beginning in Jackson County and extending north to Muskingum County, and calls the flint a calcareo-silicious formation.

Mr. J. S. Newberry, Chief Geologist of the Ohio Geological Survey, in discussing the carboniferous system in Ohio comments at some length concerning the famous Flint Ridge:*

"The origin of the silex in these flinty limestones has never been satisfactorily explained. It has sometimes been attributed to hot springs, of which the water contained much silica, but the general distribution of the flint and the immense number of fossils sometimes contained in it, seemed to me insurmountable objections to this view. It appears to me more probable that the silica was derived from microscopic organisms, such as the diatoms. It is well known that at the present time very extensive deposits of silicious earth ('infusorial earth') are being made in our lakes and lagoons. These are frequently associated with shell marl and sometimes bog iron ore. In the Tertiary age, even more extensive beds of diatomaceous silica were formed than any belonging to the present age yet discovered, the polishing slate of Bilin, ('tripoli'), Monterey, and Nevada 'infusorial earths,' etc. In the older formations no such strata are found, and yet it is hardly probable that the low forms of life from which these beds of silica are derived are of modern date. From some experiments recently made by Mr. Henry Newton at my request, we learn that the silicious shields of diatoms are more soluble than almost any other form of silica known, and it seems to me quite possible that in the older diatomaceous earths the individual forms have disappeared by solution, and the mass has been converted into compact amorphous silica, such as we find in our beds of chert. I would, therefore, suggest that in many parts of the lagoons which, from time to time, occupied the coal area, the shields of diatoms accumulated in beds of considerable thickness, and these, now blended and consolidated by solution, form our Coal Measure buhr-stones.

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