The Metate and Mano, Ancient Food-prep tools

To some people this might look like nothing, but in actuality, this is what’s known as a “Metate,” a stone tool used by native peoples going back thousands of years to prepare plant foods.

Metates were meant to be used in conjunction with a Mano (grinding stone), a small rounded rock, similar to what you might find in a creek or river, except with one side being flattened and smoothed by repeated use.

Seeds, nuts, corn, and other plant material, would be ground up in the basin of the metate, using the mano, to be used in different recipes.

These tools may be ancient, but are still in use by many cultures across the world, even today!


A Mano and Metate in use. Image courtesy of

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