Artifact Gallery - Digging Stick

A straight wooden pole between 3-4 feet in length.
 

A digging stick was most often used for planting. A farmer used it to dig into the ground about 12 inches to where the soil was still moist from snow melt. They then planted several kernels of corn in each hole to improve the chances of a healthy plant. When they refilled the hole, they put in first, the soil they dug out last. That way, the moistest soil remained near the seeds. Seeds were planted about 6 feet apart to ensure the corn plants would not compete for water.

How do we know this may have been how the Ancestral Pueblo farmers planted their fields of corn? Because their descendants still plant the same way over 800 years later! Today, some of the descendant communities, like Hopi, live in areas where the environment is much like it was here centuries ago. They still plant corn, some using digging sticks, just like their ancestors did.

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Last updated: May 9, 2020

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