Quartz and Chalcedonies

Quartz is found as a common supplement to flint on a wide range of prehistoric sites throughout Scotland, with an understandable preference for finer quality material. Wickham-Jones (1986, 30) states that quartz was generally used only where other more easily worked materials were not available. This hierarchy of materials appears not to have been as prevalent within the sites of the Forth Littoral where high quality ‘greasy’ nodular quartz and chalcedonies were readily available.

Chalcedony appears in a variety of colours and forms. The majority appear homogenous and fine grained. They are largely pale grey in colour with a distinct waxy lustre. Other types include pink and banded agates and jasper. Though chalcedonies appear as a supplementary material on many sites it is easily misidentified as flint. Chalcedony appears to be an important component of the sites of the western Forth Littoral such as Cramond (Lawson et al 2023), Echline Fields (Robertson et al 2018) and the Dalmeny Estate (Engl forthcoming).