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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Weathering Amber Chalcedony



Weathering amber chalcedony, 44ST0023, Stafford County, Virginia.

Type Chalchedony

Collection Location:
Unknown

Description
This material is a distinctive translucent amber chalcedony with white snow flake-like inclusions throughout the matrix visible in unweathered samples. The amber chalcedony matrix often shows deep weathering to a chalky yellow-white. Microscopically, some of this material shows spherical or angular masses of chalcedony or agate throughout the entire structure with voids and cavities between these masses filled by a different chalcedony. Some specimens of this distinctive material are so heavily weathered that they appear opaque, but are observed to be translucent amber or rose colored when held before high intensity light. Many specimens show a few almost microscopic cavities of quartz crystals in the structure. When heated the material transforms to a glassy, translucent rose colored chalcedony which seems to weather to a light gray or white.

Distribution
In the Nottoway River area tools and points of this material are found on Clovis sites, but cores are absent and flakes are rare. Egloff has noted that a number of pieces of the material, with the outer cortex intact, have been found in Hanover County. The quarry location for weathering amber chalcedony is unknown, but is thought to be located west of the Fall Line in western Hanover County, Virginia.

Cultural Implications
Weathering amber chalcedony was extremely popular in the Nottoway River area for the manufacture of Clovis points, and the number of such points and tools of this material indicates that the quarry is apparently large and was probably very significant to the Clovis culture.

References

Prepared By Egloff 2008