Nutcracker Museum

Bavarian Leavenworth, Washington

"Nutting Stones"
Introduction to Special Nutcrackers

Nuts have been a significant part of the food supply since the beginning of time. On the site of Gesher Benot Ya'agov, close to the Dead Sea in Israel, archeologists discovered seven varieties of nuts along with some fifty pitted stones that they reported to be 780,000 years old. This was the first evidence that man indeed did have instruments to open the hard shell of the nut. Similar tools have been found in various parts of the US which date back to the Archaic period, 4000 to 8000 years ago. Here is a variety of nutting stones found in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Ohio.
   
These two nutting stones were found in the Sahara Desert and archeologists date them as being 4,000 to 8,000 years old. Monsoon rains beginning 9,000 years ago brought lush vegetation including trees. This lasted until the rains began to recede 5,500 years ago and the Sahara returned to desert.
   
Nutting stones have also been found in Europe, in countries where the climate is moderate. The dimple in the stone would hold the nut in place as it was hit with another stone called a "hammer stone". It also could be held in the hand, the dimple keeping the nut from rolling away as it was hit with the stone.
   
This large communal nutting stone measuring 10x14 inches was found in Arkansas. The early inhabitants were nomadic people camping near the nut trees when it was time for the nuts to fall. Kernels provided nourishing food, and could be crushed for breads, or boiled for the oil they contained. Whole nuts could be saved to be eaten later.
   
These nutting stones prove that the dimples were man-made as they show multiple dimples in designs. The large stone was found in Brown County, Ohio. It is made of brown granite and has 10 holes on one side and 13 on the other side. It is rare to find nutting stones with multiple dimples and we know of no other with 23.
   
This is not a nutting stone, but an 18th century Rock Hammer for cracking nuts. This primitive tool was found in the Solomon Islands. Leather binding connects the wooden handle to the stone.

 


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Federal ID #91-2143303

A Non-Profit 501(c)3 Organization

 

Contact Us

735 Front Street
P.O. Box 2212
Leavenworth, WA 98826

(509) 548-4573

MUSEUM HOURS
Open 7 Days a Week
1:00PM - 5:00PM

Nutcracker Museum Mission Statement:

"To foster and encourage the interest of the general public of the importance of nuts in the diets of humans throughout history and in the evolution of the nutcracker. No other tool or collectible has shown such a wide diversity of material and design as the implements used to crack the hard shell of a nut"

Museum Admission:

Adults  - $5.00  (Ages 17 - 64yrs)
Seniors - $3.50  (Age 65yrs +)
Youth   - $2.00  (Ages 6 - 16yrs)
Child    - FREE   (Ages 0 - 5yrs)
Military & Families - FREE