The Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument protects an ancient quarry, where early American Indians found the raw material for a society based on stone tools and natural resources. The stone from the quarry, Alibates flint, is a distinctive, workable, multi-colored stone with excellent edge-holding properties. These characteristics prompted various North American peoples to quarry, shape, and use this stone to construct tools critical to survival: projectile points, knives, scrapers, axes, drills, and awls. Due to its particular aesthetic and practical properties, Alibates flint was highly prized and traded extensively throughout much of North America.
The over 700 largely unexcavated quarry pits located within the park document at least 12,000 years of continuous resource extraction and use. Alibates flint projectile points have been found with the ancient remains of mammoths and giant bison, now-extinct Ice Age animals that roamed the High Plains. Tools made from Alibates flint have been found associated with a variety of cultures over time, including Clovis, Folsom, and Plainview peoples.
If You Go
Visits to the quarries are by ranger-led tours only; advance reservations are required. The one-mile roundtrip hike takes about 2 hours to complete, with frequent stops along the way to view natural and geologic formations.
Like most of the parks of the National Park System, the national parks of Texas face serious challenges as we move toward the National Park Centennial Year of 2016. These include the need to acquire adjoining, threatened lands, air and water pollution, under-funding and under-staffing, inappropriate use of off-road vehicles, and the challenges of Texas’s location on an international border.