Grain processing and flour supply in Silchester (awarded 2018)

A grant from the RRT has part-funded a project to establish an overview of the querns and millstones from Silchester (Hampshire) and to place this information in the wider context of the town’s hinterland. The project will review what the querns are made from and their morphology. It will also consider what the distribution of querns and millstones can contribute to our understanding of agricultural economy and the relationship between town and country.

The project has gathered data on 593 querns from the town and 221 querns from within a 20km radius of the town. This reveals the dominance of Lodsworth stone, which accounts for more than half of all the querns, but has identified the presence of Bargate stone, Old Red Sandstone, Millstone Grit, sarsen, Hertfordshire Puddingstone, Worms Heath Puddingstone, Lava, Alderney sandstone, Potterne Rock, and Faringdon Greensand. Silchester has produced querns of almost all these stone types.

Initial analysis indicates that rotary querns dominate the assemblages from both inside and outside the town. However, there are at least nine millstones from Silchester and a further nine millstones from outside the town, which provide evidence for the centralisation of the grinding process in the town and in the countryside.