The Testimony of Hands

87.1.7, metate

87.1.7, metate
Date unknown

This metate was found in the Maxwell collections without records of its origin. Unfortunately, it is difficult or impossible to tell whether the walnut shells resting on the ground surface came from the same archaeological site as the metate.

This kind of tool is found on sites where people lived in one place for at least part of each year. It is too large and heavy to be carried around with groups of people out hunting and gathering all year. It could have been left in an area where wild seeds and nuts were available in a certain season, or it might have been used in a place where farmers grew corn and stayed in the same place for years.

A metate such as this one would have been used flat, with plant food to be ground placed on top. A smaller stone, called a mano, would have been used to crush and grind the seeds to remove shells or prepare flour for cooking.

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