Blog

10
Feb

Native American Bedrock Mortars

The Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretative Center continue to make progress in completing the Garden phase of the project. Two Bedrock Mortars have been placed inside the amphitheater areas and add a dramatic touch that appears as a beautiful scene as is seen along the banks of the Colorado River in our area.

Bedrock mortars were used by the Native American to pound seed, berries, nuts and other eatables into a nourishing food product. The mortars are found today located with regularity along the Colorado River and Pecan Bayou most frequently in areas of sandstone formations although often found in other areas as well. The mortars are sometimes found in solid bedrock formations and more often in usually large stones that may weigh several thousand pounds.

Bedrock Mortar with two processing features was originally located on a high bank above the Pecan Bayou in southeastern Brown County. This mortar was donated to the Gardens by Vivian Auldridge.

Bedrock Mortar with two processing features was originally located on a high bank above the Pecan Bayou in southeastern Brown County. This mortar was donated to the Gardens by Vivian Auldridge.

The two bedrock mortars placed in the garden this past were those that had been previously moved from their original locations where they had been used by the Native American over many years. One of the mortars had fallen due to erosion from the cliff above the Colorado River down into the edge of the river in western Mills County, breaking into two pieces. It would eventually have been swept into the river had not the local rancher gone to a lot of work to rescue it. This mortar was donated to the project by Patty Bays. The other mortar had been moved many years ago by the land owner into Goldthwaite. It was donated for the Gardens by Vivian Auldridge who wanted it to be a part of the educational programs that will be conducted in the Gardens. Both Mortars are documented as coming from their original sites in Mills and Brown Counties.

Plans are for processing and cooking foods in the Gardens as a part of the educational programs in the same or similar manner as was done by the Native Americans. Large sandstones have also been placed in the Amphitheater area where this can be demonstrated.

This Bedrock Mortar is being prepared for removal from the Legacy Plaza Annex by Tab Ledbetter and Del Barnett. It has been placed inside the Amphitheater of the Texas Botanical Gardens in downtown Goldthwaite. It was originally located on a high cliff above the Colorado River in western Mills County. The mortar was donated to the Gardens by Patty Bays.

This Bedrock Mortar is being prepared for removal from the Legacy Plaza Annex by Tab Ledbetter and Del Barnett. It has been placed inside the Amphitheater of the Texas Botanical Gardens in downtown Goldthwaite. It was originally located on a high cliff above the Colorado River in western Mills County. The mortar was donated to the Gardens by Patty Bays.

The Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretative Center will not accept any Native American artifacts that are removed from their natural locations with the purpose of placing them in the Gardens. We realize there are too many of our prehistoric sites that are being destroyed in our area and throughout Texas and we recognize that it falls on all of us to try and preserve these sites for future generations.

There is a need for additional mortars for the Gardens and anyone that has a Native American artifact that will be misplaced or destroyed by construction or natural events may contact us at 325-938-7765 regarding placing these inside the Gardens.

Republished with permission of the Goldthwaite Eagle.
Photos taken by Brian Degraffenried

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