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ETHNOARCHAEOLOGY OF GRINDING STONES IN SIMADA, SOUTH GONDAR ZONE NORTH WESTERN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0101-12]
Grinding stones are found in every prehistoric archaeological site and it was the only grinding tool technology for the preparation of food in prehistoric households. Moreover, in the Northern Ethiopia's archaeological sites, abundance of grinding stones are discovered in every excavation context. However, due to limited ethnoarchaeological study, archaeologists neglect it to interpret the past. The study was conducted in three kebeles of Simada wereda found in South Gondar, Amhara Region. It relied on both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. The primary data were collected through observation, interviews, survey and photographic documentation. In Simada woreda grinding stones are produced from two type of sites, namely river banks and cutting from the rock and the nature of rock selected for grinding stone determine its life expectancy. The primary function of grinding stones in the house is for the preparation of food and it has a strong link with Teff, finger millet, noug, linseed and other spices. Besides, it used to process cotton and to measure kilo during exchange of goods. It used as a source of income for producers and economic prestige between the society. In regard to labor division, men are producing the tool and the rest part in the hand of women. Furthermore, food residues remain within the pores of the stone and preserve it for a long period of time and make it a potential for archaeobotanical study. Finally, the research went through the discarded grinding stones and it was a pioneer evidence for presence of unknown human occupation in a particular place. To conclude, in comparison with grinding stone excavated from Lalibela and Natchaibet caves, the use of grinding stone in the region is a continuation from the ancient time to present day.