The Crescent chert quarries are located in southern
St. Louis and northern Jefferson Counties, Missouri. They are situated along several
miles of ridges that lie south of the Meramec River (a tributary of the Mississippi River).
Native American surface miners extracted chert from several thousand pits and quarry
ledges scattered across an area of approximately 104 square kilometers. One estimate
of the number of quarry features (pits, ledges and tailings) ranges between
6,000 and 10,000. Dalton points (ca. 8000 BC) manufactured from Crescent chert have been
identified in Arkansas. Archaic and Woodland Period artifacts have been identified in
Missouri and Illinois that were manufactured by Crescent chert. The distinctive chert
appears at Cahokia Mounds and other Mississippian sites in the St. Louis area.
The central portion of the quarries (23SL115) is protected by the
West Tyson County Park. These pits and quarry ledges were probably cut during the Middle
Woodland Period (ca. AD 100) based upon diagnostic lithics at an adjacent village site
(the Mason Site). The pit and quarry ledge features of 23SL115 are listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Central portion of the quarries (23SL115) on 7 Oct 2015. GPS location is N 38.51622 degrees W 90.58601 degrees at an elevation 235 meters.
The chert quarried at 23SK15 was obtained from the Burlington-Keokuk formation and
residuum that tops the ridges along the Meramec River. The ancient quarry beds are mainly
situated at an elevation of 750 ft. above mean sea level in a zone that is only one
to two feet in thickness. The eastern most quarry pits along the ridge are at N 38.51519 degrees and W 90.57836 degrees at an elevation of 231 meters.
I mapped the quarry pits along 2000 meters (6562 ft) of the North-South and East-West
ridges within 23SL115. There does not seem to be a slope preference (63 pits on the west face,
20 on the crest and 70 on the east face). Please, do not remove any rock, plant or animals from the park. Take only pictures and leave only footprints.
A large, oak witness trees is situated next to two large quarry pits. GPS location in N 38.51668 degrees and W 90.58687 degrees at an elevation of 238 meters.
Example of debitage on the surface near the Witness Tree.
Peter Topping (Newcastle University in England) on the hiking trail to the Crescent quarries during 2015; he has done extensive research on flint quarries in England.
Your journey to the quarries starts by taking the Lewis Road exit off of Interstate Highway 44.
Turn into the West Tyson County Park. Please leave before dark!
Follow the sign for the Roth Lodge, to the right.
Follow the signs that look like a partially eaten slice of pizza for approximately 1 miles to find the first set of shallow pits. The largest pits are approximately 1.5 miles along the trail. The trail is moderate in terms of energy required. Do not hike the trail if it is raining or muddy. Please, do not remove any rock, plant or animals from the park. Take only pictures and leave only footprints.[Yes, that is Professor Fuller, STLCC in the image]
Webpage contructed 22 November 2006
Webpage updated 8 October 2015