Ancestral Stones

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Mortar and pestle made from stone
Native California mortars courtesy of Andrew Galvan and Richard E. Thompson

Exhibition Dates

November 2010 to June 2011
Kalmanovitz Hall Sculpture Terrace

The stone mortars presented here have been found throughout the state and were created and used by the Indigenous people of California. The mortars were most often used for storage and grinding acorns, an important staple foodstuff of the aboriginal population in this region. 

“Acorn economy” including gathering, storage, and processing of acorns has been described as the foraging equivalent of early horticulture, and these mortars serve as markers of population density. Mortars and grinding pestles were also used to process other foods.

Mortars courtesy of Andrew Galvan and Richard E. Thompson.