ground stone, quarry, Casas Grandes, stone production


Grinding stones, and more specifically manos and metates, are ubiquitous tools found at archaeological sites throughout the Americas. These tools were important, even to foragers, and grew in importance with the spread of agriculture, especially maize cultivation. Analyses of grinding stones recovered from archaeological sites are a common aspect of site reports, but these tend to generate data that emphasize the middle and end of the use-lives of these tools (Searcy 2011:8). The prehistoric manufacture of ground stone tools has received scant attention, and we suggest this may be due to two primary factors. First, the quarries where much of the production of grinding stones occurred are often remotely located from the primary habitation sites at which archaeologists tend to focus their research. Settlement surveys are most often intended to locate sites of occupation where people spent much of their time engaged in domestic activities. Second, quarry sites may be difficult to identify due to their lack of visible architecture and limited artifact distribution on the ground surface. Quarry sites are principally composed of stone tools and debitage that tend to blend with the natural environment.

Original Publication Citation

Searcy, Michael T., and Todd Pitezel 2018 An Ethnoarchaeological Perspective on Ground Stone Production at the Santiago Quarry in the Casas Grandes Region of Chihuahua, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 29(1):169-184.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Society for American Archaeology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor