Dark grey schist

Nutting stone, schist, 8000 BC - AD 1650

Additionally, the presence of nutting stones, like the one shown here, is evidence that Virginia Indians living at Flowerdew likely gathered a variety of shelled nuts, such as acorns, chestnuts and walnuts from deciduous forests. Nutting stones were used to crack the nut’s husk or shell.  

McClung Museum Archaic Period Mural

Indian women using nutting stones, rendering by Greg Harlin
Courtesy of the Frank H. McClung Museum, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, http://mcclungmuseum.utk.edu

As demonstrated in the rendering shown here, an Indian woman--food preparation was a female responsibility--would place the nut in a hole and use a fist-sized hammerstone to crack it open. Some nuts were boiled or roasted and eaten, others were dried, ground and stirred in water to make powcohiscora, or "nut-milk," a delicacy. Ground nuts could also be used to make bread.

Mortar and pestle

Mortar, quartzite, 6000 BC - AD 1650
Pestle, quartzite, 6000 BC - AD 1650

Corn--a mainstay of the Virginia Indian diet--could be eaten raw or cooked. Like other botanicals, however, it is rare to find corn in archaeological contexts. Nevertheless, archaeologists have found other evidence of corn, such as this stone mortar and pestle that was used to grind corn to different consistencies. Virginia Indians used finely ground corn for bread flour, and made porridge out of coarsely ground corn. Additionally, the corn cob impressed ceramic sherd is further evidence of corn.  Virginia Algonquians also ground wild marsh tubers, called tuckahoe into flour to make cakes that would then be baked.