Grinding stone (metate) and hand stone (mano). Date unknown, Mexico. Latin American Archaeology, Miner Collection. UMMAA 44436.

This Mexican metate, a slightly concave stone slab on three legs, was used in conjunction with its mano (hand stone) to grind corn or other materials into a fine paste or powder. The presence of such grinding stones in archaeological sites is evidence for intensive processing of plant foods and signals the production and consumption of domestic grains. This small size of this metate would have made it more easily portable than its larger counterparts. 

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In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.