History & Culture
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 silicified, 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 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. Wind and rain have filled the once four to eight foot deep holes with soil.
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 across the Great Plains and Southwest. Its use dates from 13,000 years ago to about 1870.