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Chaw-se Indian Grinding Rock, Amador County

Shadows and light play across the hollows and planes of the marbleized limestone grinding rock, known as chaw'se in Miwok. Oak leaves, rain water and dust now gather in the mortar cups, belying the rock's former role as a hub of activity in the old Miwok village site.

The Miwok women would gather here to grind acorns from the surrounding Valley Oaks, which were prized for their high nutritional value. However, the nuts are bitter tasting due to their tannin content. The Miwok overcame this problem by cracking the acorns and pounding the nuts in a mortar with a stone pestle.

Once the meal was fine enough, water was poured through it, rinsing away the tannin. The acorn meal could then be cooked in watertight baskets over open fires.

Great Video on the what you will experience at the Chaw-se Indian Grinding Rock