Coastal Chert

Last Updated: April 4, 2023

Coastal chert, Skidmore Island, Northampton County, Virginia.

Type Cherts

Collection Location:
Several large nodular fragments have been found at various localities along the Atlantic shoreline of Virginia. The origin of this material remains an enigma. The sample was collected from a dredge pile on Skidmore Island, Northampton County, Virginia.

A pure white, cream, or light-tan colored coastal chert has been found in secondary shoreline deposits associated with a few of the Virginia coastal barrier islands. The angular nature of the fragments suggests that the material was not tumbled via fluvial action and is not associated with an ancient Chesapeake paleochannel deposit. The material when unweathered or unstained has a uniform creamy-white appearance. Heavily weathered nodules have a chalky exterior. Buried artifacts will absorb minerals from the surrounding environment. In iron rich environments, the artifact will have an orange-yellow coloration. The artifacts will turn gray to black in manganese rich wet environments.


Cultural Implications
Diagnostic artifacts, points and scrapers, from coastal chert found on Delmarva are exclusively Paleo-Indian in age.


Prepared By Egloff 2008