Many of the commonly found Native American artifacts in Pittsylvania County, Virginia are arrowheads, stone celts, so-called “tomahawks,” and pottery. Some of the finest fashioned arrowheads are made of various materials, but the most common arrowheads are made of rhyolite. Argillite, quartz and various other quartz-related materials are occasionally found.
Near the top of Morrow Mountain at Morrow Mountain State Park in Stanly County, North Carolina, there is a genuine Indian (Native American) quarry which produced good-quality rhyolite for use by Indian arrow makers. According to the Morrow Mountain State Park website, the park has undergone many changes for the benefit of visitors to the park. One may now visit the quarry, but the rules state that no rock specimens can be taken away.
Note from the photograph the white weathered edges of the displayed rhyolite specimen. Most rhyolite arrowheads that have been exposed to sunlight for years develop an outer patina of whitish or greenish colors. Strangely enough, even stone rhyolite tools that are uncovered from sandy or clay soils have a dark inner color which is often revealed after chipping away the outer coating (note the specimen displayed in the glass case).
Rhyolite, considered to be a volcanic rock, is rich in silica with a granite-like composition. Its fine-grained texture allows it to be flaked into sharp edges suitable for arrowheads and tool implements.
My photos were taken in April 1978.
(Also see these photographs in larger format.)
Copyright © 2007 William T. Hathaway.