Archaeology Find: Metate in Lycoming County, PA

I’m taking advantage of the sunshine (aka coronavirus killer). I went fishing and foraging. I was a hunter-gatherer. See the first picture. These are ramps They are not spring onions although many people call them that. These are leek and you can use the entire plant. They make a fine batch of potatoes and give recipes a wonderfully different taste.

Last evening our own Jim Carn visited with an artifact found in Linden somewhere near the river. I’ll leave it to him to disclose the exact location.

  • Thomas 'Tank' Baird - ramps
  • Thomas 'Tank' Baird - metate
  • Thomas 'Tank' Baird - metate
  • Thomas 'Tank' Baird - metate

This is a big boy. It’s 2 feet long and very heavy. Not being the world’s authority on metate’s I have sent pictures to Gary Fogelman. Coincidentally, Gary had just cautioned me about metates in general as Jim arrived. There are many things that can look like a grinding stone but just aren’t and, to be honest, I’ve been fooled before. In that first picture sent the other day I thought it was much smaller and I wasn’t impressed until I saw it in the back of Jim’s pickup.

If in fact, this passes the muster with Gary then it will quickly get the nod from me. I’m inclined to think it’s real. It is an irregular shape but the “work area” is smoother than the rest of the stone. But for me, the fascinating feature is the drilled hole. I have no idea why Indians would drill a metate but there it is. Being drilled from both sides the meeting in the middle is slightly off and there is a flair on the outside of the holes, both indicating an Indian style drill was used. The holes look very weathered which bothers me a little (natural?) but the overall appearance of the object says “artifact” to me. If Gary wants to see this up close I will accompany Jim to a meeting spot.

We may all learn from this one.

Tank Baird
NCC8 President