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 about 450 CE. 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 Pueblo farmers 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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Last updated: April 18, 2020