Ferruginous Quartzite

Last Updated: April 4, 2023

Ferruginous Quartzite, Bath County, Virginia.

Type Quartzite

Collection Location:
Ferruginous quartzite is commonly found as cobbles in many of the stream beds in Bath and Alleghany counties, Virginia.

Brittle quartz sandstone, dark blood red, fine to coarse grained, hematite cemented. Quality of this material is widely varied from extremely high quality that glistens, to poor quality that was seldom used. This material is sometimes mistakenly referred to as hematitic sandstone. The difference between the quartzite and sandstone is the extent of metamorphosis that has taken place.

Ferruginous quartzite is found in thin belts in the Rose Hill Formation of the Virginia Ridge and Valley from Craig County northward to Highland County. It was used extensively by Native peoples in the upper James River drainage. They procured large cobbles from the rivers.

Cultural Implications
Ferruginous quartzite was intensively used during the Late Archaic Period for the manufacture of broadspears. Although Egloff has seen Guilford and Susquehanna points made from the material, it is unusual to find points of this material that date either before or after the Late Archaic. Ferruginous quartzite quarry sites indicate that knappers tested cobbles and selected the quartzite and left any sandstone as broken cobbles (Tolley).


Prepared By Nash 1999; Tolley 1999; Egloff 2008