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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Pine Grove in Amador County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Chaw'se

The Grinding Rock

 
 
Chaw'se Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 10, 2008
1. Chaw'se Marker
Inscription. Chaw’se is the Miwok word for a mortar hole. The cup-shaped depression in a grinding rock was used to process acorns and other seeds into food by pounding and grinding with a cobblestone pestle.
     The hole or chaw’se began as a slight natural depression in the rock that became deeper through years of use. The deep mortar holes were used when the objective was to crack the shells of seeds without crushing the meats. Shallow depressions were used for acorn grinding and when a chaw’se became too deep, a new one was started a few inches or a few feet away.
     The great outcropping of marbleized limestone, with some 1,185 grinding its, is the largest occurrence of bedrock mortars in North America! Large grinding rocks were used by all the women of a village and served as the community milling place or outdoor kitchen. The women could tell stories, socialize and work at the same time.
     Listen closely, the great rock still echoes the pounding of acorns and the stories handed down from generation to generation. “A long time ago Oo-soo’ma-te the Grizzly Bear and Hoi-yah’ko the first people made the chaw’se mortar holes in the big flat-topped rocks. Then Nek-na-ka’tah the rock maiden helped make the stone pestles for grinding acorns ....”
 
Location.
Chaw’se or Grinding Rock image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 10, 2008
2. Chaw’se or Grinding Rock
Marker is at the end of the observation deck
38° 25.462′ N, 120° 38.561′ W. Marker is near Pine Grove, California, in Amador County. Marker can be reached from Pine Grove Volcano Road 0.3 miles north of Bryson Lane. Click for map. Marker is located in Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park; the above directions are to the intersection of Pine Grove Volcano Road and the park entrance. Marker is in this post office area: Pine Grove CA 95665, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Petroglyphs (Rock Carvings) (here, next to this marker); Hun'ge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chaw Sé Roundhouse (about 400 feet away); Pine Grove (approx. 1.2 miles away); Volcano Masonic Cave (approx. 1.3 miles away); Moose Milk (approx. 1.4 miles away); St. George Hotel (approx. 1.4 miles away); General Store (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Pine Grove.
 
More about this marker. Marker may reached by a 1/4 mile trail from the parking area to the marker.
 
Also see . . .  Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park. Official California State Parks website. (Submitted on February 21, 2014.) 
 
Categories. AgricultureNative Americans
 
Chaw’se or Grinding Rock image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 10, 2008
3. Chaw’se or Grinding Rock
View to south from marker on observation deck
Chaw’se or Grinding Rock image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 10, 2008
4. Chaw’se or Grinding Rock
View to north from marker on observation deck
Mortar Holes image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 10, 2008
5. Mortar Holes
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 265 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
 
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