The Ancient Quarry: Indians on the Mountain

A quarry is a place where people obtain a type of stone. In this activity, you will learn what stone the Native Americans came to the Catoctin area for and what they made out of this stone.

Watch the video below to learn about the quarries at Catoctin and why they were so important to the people of this area. Once you've finished watching it, answer the questions below to complete this activity.


Open Transcript


Landscape is full of clues left by people who lived here long ago. Some of them are obvious, but some of them are much harder to see and it takes a trained archeologist to spot them. Like these boulders behind me. This is an ancient archeological site. This outcrop is a kind of stone called rhyolite. that ancient Native Americans love to use to make their stone tools. Starting around 10,000 years ago, they began coming to these outcrops to get stone. Mining here was not complicated. They just knocked pieces of stone off the outcrops probably with a stone hammer until they got a piece that they liked. They carried those pieces down the hill to camps in flat places along the stream and there they shaped them into stone tools. This rock is a piece of rhyolite stone that ancient Native Americans loved to use to make their tool and this scar here is an actual mark left by the stone hammer thousands of years ago by an Indian who was removing stone from this boulder in front of us. Each one of these marks is like one letter in an archeological book that records the lives of people who lived long ago.

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1 minute, 30 seconds

Ancient Quarry: Indians on the Mountain


Question 1. What stone did Native Americans use to make tools from in this area?

A. Flint

B. Rhyolite (Metarhyolite)

C. Granite


Question 2. How long ago did Native Americans start coming to this area to get this stone for their tools?

A. 100 years ago

B. 1,000 years ago

C. 10,000 years ago


Question 3. How did Native Americans probably knock off pieces of stone from the outcrops?

A. Using a stone hammer

B. Using their hands

C. Using a drill


Last updated: April 10, 2015

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