Bolster’s Store Chert

Last Updated: April 4, 2023

Bolster’s Store chert, 44DW0018, Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

Type Cherts

Collection Location:
This material is located at the head of Hardwood Creek (44DW0018) in the Bolster’s Store community area. The location is several miles north of the Nottoway River in an upland setting within the Fall Zone.

In terms of structure, much of Bolster’s Store chert is coarse and grainy, but the primary distinguishing features are color and the large quantity of very fine included pyrite crystals. This variegated chert is frequently red, brown, cream, yellow and blue-gray, with dark colors predominant. Macroscopic pyrite is dispersed randomly or in bands throughout the structure of a high percentage of this material, and pyrite in some samples is at the levels of several percent by volume. Over time the pyrite reacts chemically to release other iron compounds which stain the chert surface brown or yellow. This distinctive staining is easily recognized in flakes and artifacts of the Bolster’s Store material.

Bolster’s Store material is widely distributed along the Nottoway River in Sussex County and may be found along the eastern scarp of the Dismal Swamp in Suffolk County and as far east as the Quail Springs Site in Virginia Beach.

Cultural Implications
One characteristic of the Bolster’s Store chert is that some of it can be thermally altered to a waxy almost glassy texture. This characteristic was known to the middle and Late Archaic. Occasionally Early Archaic tools show thermal alteration, but artifacts of Paleoindian age of this chert have not been heat treated. Cores of Bolster’s Store chert vary in size to about 250 mm in diameter and occasional cores may weigh five kilograms.


Prepared By
Egloff 2008