During our 2009 survey season, a student approached us asking if it was ok to collect a strange object lying on a mound by his feet. Immediately, Natalia got closer to him and identified the artifact as a “machacador”, reported by Bertha Cuevas in her thesis on El Carrizal. Instantly, the artifact was collected, labeled ant stored in the Laboratory.
Throughout the analysis, we noticed that the only modification of the original form is a flake scar, located in the front end (assuming that the back end is the side that presents a round shape). Apart from that, we observed that the artifact was manufactured in travertine. In addition, it presents a conical perforation on one site, while the other shows the same perforation connected to the proximal end.
We decided to visit the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa in order to find some clues about the purpose and use of this rare object. Luckily, we located a complete display cabinet full of artifacts that morphologically look alike the one we collected. Surprisingly, Museum’s classification labels them as war hammers.
We’ve been asking scholars for their opinion about the artifact. Some of them think it had a deadly function, others reckon it was used for leather treatment or seed processing. Finally, some believe it was a tool to work on wood. However, no one is really sure about its function.
This update is aimed to invite you all to leave us some feedback on this intriguing question, so please feel free to send your opinions, experiences and ideas about the function or use that the machacador artifact might have had. So, the million-dollar question is: What do you think it is?