Object Record

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Catalog Number 4406P
Accession number 1956.001.
Object Name Pestle, Food
Description Dark colored small, polished pestle with a hit of an animal snout on the top end. Black porphyry.

From "Stone Age on the Columbia River" by Emory Strong: Pestles are one of the most common artifacts on the river. A great many of them show little workmanship, being a natural shaped stone with some pecking to improve the form. Most of them are cylindrical and tapered, although occasionally a square one is found. Pestles sometimes measure nearly 30 inches long; if over about 20 inches, they are called "salmon packers," on the supposition that they were used to pack dried and shredded salmon into the long storage bags. This is highly unlikely, the good ones show very little use, and they are found in areas where salmon was not preserved as it was on the upper Columbia. A wood pestle would have been a much more practical instrument. The long pestles are beautifully worked and shaped. Long pestles, like all implements for which the use is unknown, have been designated as "ceremonials." The reason why so many pestles are found and so few bowls, is that the stone pestles were used with wooden bowls. Pestles were made of a sliver of basalt or a long river pebble. The stone was placed on a layer of sand or soil to act as a cushion during the pecking process. Especially fine pestles were polished with sand and water.
Collection Adam East Collection
Dimensions L-12.7 cm
Source East, Adam
Collector Adam East
Material Stone