There are several ethnographic accounts of the Native use of nutting stones in the historic times.
One account says "the Virginia Indians in 1587 tells us that each household had stones for cracking nuts and for grinding shell and other materials." It goes on to say that "This statement would doubtless be equally true if applied at that time to almost any tribe inhabiting the section east of the Mississippi." In Hawaii, cup and ring marks are associated with petroglyphs, and those occurring in the boundary regions of Apuki and Puna lands have been used as depositories for a child's navel cord, a custom also observed in other Polynesian peoples.
Some of the earliest cupules can be found at the Bhimbetka cave site in India, dating to 290,000-700,000 BCE, but in Europe they do not pre-date the most recent cold phase (the Würm or Weichselian glaciation).
Some scholars insist the items are "false" artifacts, that is, their form results from natural processes rather than human activity.
By interpreting the animals as astronomical symbols, and using software to match their positions to patterns of stars, researchers dated the event to 10,950BC.