• View of Square Tower House, seen along the Mesa Top Loop

    Mesa Verde

    National Park Colorado

Artifact Gallery -- Mano and Metate

Corn filled mano and metate with bowl of corn alongside
Mano and Metate
 

This mano (Spanish for “hand”) and metate (the larger stone surface) were used for grinding corn before it was cooked.

Corn originated in MesoAmerica and was grown in Mesa Verde beginning in A.D. 450. By the time Europeans made contact with Native Americans, more than 350 varieties of corn (or maize) were being cultivated in North America. Corn was transported to Spain in the 15th century and is now the third most valuable food crop in the world.

Ancestral Puebloans were skilled at “dryland farming” (farming without irrigation), which allowed them to grow crops such as corn that would mature quickly to accommodate the short growing season. They constructed check dams and other water and soil conservation devices to take advantage of what little water came from rainfall and to avoid depleting the fertile soil.

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Did You Know?

Baron Gustaf Nordenskiold

In 1891, Swedish scientist Gustaf Nordenskiold studied, explored, and photographed many of Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings. Considered by many to be the first true archeologist at Mesa Verde, his book, "The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde," was the first extensive record of its cliff dwellings.