|Tallahatta Sandstone, also known as tallahatta quartzite, is a light gray quartz arenite with a distinct snow-flake pattern. It was one of the most common lithic materials used by prehistoric peoples in south Alabama. A wide range of tool forms was made from Tallahatta Sandstone and such tools have been recovered from sites hundreds of miles from the source. Tallahatta Sandstone was employed in the region to make a wide variety of stone tools, from the earliest documented settlement during Paleoindian times (circa 15,000 years ago) up until contact with Europeans.
Tallahatta Sandstone is composed of well-sorted, medium grained quartz sand that is well indurated by weakly luminescent, multigenerational phases of opal-CT, chalcedony and drusy quartz cement. The snowflake pattern is caused by patchy distribution of chert cement. Interestingly, Tallahatta Sandstone is interbedded in some areas with Tallahatta Chert, which is a seam material in some portions of the formation.
Based on our study of Alabama state site file data of quarry sites, Tallahatta Sandstone is the most widely distributed of the three major knappable stone types in south Alabama and has the most identified prehistoric quarries.
|One of the many Tallahatta Sandstone samples collected as part of this study, shown approximately actual size.|