Pestle fragment made of yellow granite and roughly battered into shape; Shows signs of fire damage.
During the Archaic Period, the climate warmed and the environment changed, providing a home for new plant and animal species, many of which the Wampanoag and other Indigenous groups incorporated into their diets. One new, abundant source of food was acorns, which were collected from several oak species native to the region. Acorns are quite bitter, so the Wampanoag ground them using a pestle, which removes the tannins and makes them into a flour-like meal that can be used in porridge, cakes, or bread. Small pestles could be made from natural oblong cobbles, but larger ones were pecked into shape. This artifact is a broken pestle that was also damaged by fire.
Although much later in time, a 1643 account from Roger Williams describes how acorns were consumed: “Acorns they also dry, and in case of want of corn, by much boiling make a good dish of them, yea in sometimes of plenty of corn they do eat these acorns for a novelty.”