An analytical study of rural craft industry in the valley of Oaxaca, Mexico that produces metates or grindstones to supply a traditional regional demand which, like its object commodities, is an aspect of pre-capitalist economy. The metate (grindstone), with its companion mano (stone rolling pin), is unique among a series of commodities invented in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica that combine use, exchange, and symbolic values and are still manufactured, sold, and used. Zapotec Stoneworkers is the first and only detailed ethnography that explains and analyzes all aspects of the production, exchange, and use of metates and manos in rural twentieth-century Mexico. It incorporates interview and case study material of metateros (metate makers), their households, and communities, as well as extensive empirical data regarding output, pricing, and marketing in the metate industry of the Oaxaca Valley in southern Mexico.
Scott Cook is Professor Anthropology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He is a member of the executive board of the Society for Economic Anthropology and a fellow of the American Anthropological Association.