D.U.P. Sto­ries

Me­tates and Manos

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By Ja­neene White­lock and Cyn­thia Pea­cock

For thou­sands of years grind­ing tools have been used in the Amer­i­can South­west and else­where in the New World, to grind plant seeds to form meal, when mixed with wa­ter, can be made into cakes and breads. In the South­west, grind­ing tools are re­ferred to as me­tates and manos. From ear­li­est times, th­ese tools have been the tool of tribes which gained their main sub­sis­tence by col­lect­ing and gath­er­ing wild plant foods and items.

The metate and mano are es­sen­tially one tool made up of two parts. The lower one is called the metate and it forms a base upon which the smaller part, the mano, is moved by hand back and forth to pro­duce a pul­ver­iz­ing ac­tion. To­gether they form a hand pow­ered ma­chine for milling grain.

The large sta­tion­ary mem­ber of the metate-mano grind­ing tool is made from a block of sand­stone or por­ous lava rock. The rough tex­ture of the stone pro­vides a sand­pa­per ef­fect when the mano is rubbed across the metate. The tools are made by flak­ing with a sharp edged stone ham­mer.

Fur­ther mod­i­fi­ca­tions may con­sist of peck­ing and grind­ing to re­move high spots and smooth the sharp edges. Var­i­ous shapes of grind­ing stones have been popular from time to time. The mano tool is shaped to match the style of the Metate on which it is to be used.

The com­bined metate-mano corn milling tool is per­haps the most im­por­tant house­hold tool of the Na­tive Amer­i­can South­west. With its gen­eral use, cou­pled with the knowl­edge of wild seed plants, a large food yield was the ba­sis of na­tive pop­u­la­tion. The pi­o­neers also used th­ese tools. Come see them at the Payson D.U.P. Mu­seum at the Payson City Build­ing. Call 801-465-9858 to sched­ule your tour. (Some of the info is pulled from a pam­phlet on me­tates and manos by Frank W. Eddy.)

Ja­neene White­lock

Me­tates and Manos on dis­play at the Payson D.U.P. Mu­seum.

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