Page images

period are highly curious. It is almost unnecessary to remind our readers that similar crushing-stones have been used, and are still employed amongst uncivilised tribes in various parts of the world. The comparison of these appliances, especially such as have been obtained by recent explorers in Africa, in South America also, and elsewhere, appears to confirm the supposition that oblong slabs and mullers, of the fashion of those found at Ty Mawr and in Anglesey, were actually corncrushers. I cannot, however, close this notice of what may be familiarly designated “saddle querns," without adverting to the notion that they may have been employed for a very different purpose, namely, in dressing the skins of animals. In default of evidence regarding the operations in this and other mechanical arts in early times, the suggestion, for which I am indebted to one of

1 Objects of the like description were in the Egyptian collection at the Universal Exhibition at Paris, namely, examples of the grindingstones and mullers used by the Soudan Negroes. These are now at the British Museum, the collection having been presented by the Viceroy. In the Christy Museum may be seen a specimen from Natal. Niebuhr describes a similar appliance for grinding millet used by sailors in the vessel that conveyed him from Sidda; Descr. de l'Arab., p. 45. Dr. Livingstone gives a description of the mealing-stones and corn-crushers of granite, syenite, etc., used by savage tribes in Africa ; Expedition to the Zambesi, p. 543. Sir S. Baker also thus quaintly notices the apparatus : "I must have swallowed a good-sized millstone since I have been in Africa in the shape of grit rubbed from the moortraka, or grinding-stone. The moortraka, when new, is a large flat stone weighing about 40 lbs. Upon this the corn is ground by being rubbed with a cylindrical stone with both hands. After a few months' use half of the grinding-stone disappears, the grit being mixed with the flour; thus the grinding-stone is actually eaten. No wonder that hearts become stony in this country.” The Albert Nyanza, vol. i, p. 65. The Rev. A. Hume, LL.D., Hon. Sec. Hist. Soc. of Lancashire and Cheshire, informs me that, in a recent journey to South America, he found the triturating stone used not only among the Indians, but among the inhabitants of Spanish origin. It was in full work for bruising maize, whether raw or boiled, at Santiago. In the latter case a paste is formed, which is worked into thin paste like the Scotch oatcake. Dr. Hume brought home a grinding slab and its rubber from Lota, 283 miles south of Valparaiso. Examples from N. America may be seen in the Blackmore Museum at Salisbury, where is also a saddle-quern from the pit-dwellings near that city.

our most keen and well-informed investigators of prehistoric archæology, is deserving of consideration.

In the course of Mr. Stanley's researches in 1862, several stone querns and mortars were obtained in the neighbourhood that appear to deserve notice, although we cannot claim for them so high an antiquity as may be ascribed to the cyttiau. Three of these objects are here figured. I. A portion of the lower stone of a quern

[graphic][ocr errors]

Fig. 3. Fragment of a Quern and two Mortars found in Holyhead Island. found at Glanrafon, of mill-stone grit; diameter, in its perfect state, about 16 in.; the top of the stone is convex; the hole is seen for insertion of a spindle upon which the upper stone, or “runner” revolved. This

i See notices of various types of querns by Sir W. R. Wilde, Catal. Mus. R.I.A., pp. 105–113, where several Irish examples are figured; also Remarks on Querns, by the Rev. A. Hume, LL.D., Arch. Camb., N.S., vol. iv, p. 89; Memoirs Hist. Soc. of Lancashire, vol. i, 1848; Antiquities found on the Cheshire Coast, p. 317.

upper stone existed within recent memory, but has been lost. II. A small very rude pentagonal mortar, of whinstone, obtained at Ty Mawr, but probably of times comparatively recent; the basin measures about 3 inches in diameter. I saw two others, likewise of whin, at Penrhos; the cavity in one of these is irregularly oval, measuring 9 in. by 9 in. 1. A four-sided mortar, dimensions about 10 in. in each direction, with a cylindrical grinder, measuring 4} in. in diameter; the basin is of oval form, measuring about 7 in. longest diameter. This mortar was obtained at Pen y Bonc, where the cist enclosing urns and a jet necklace, described hereafter in this memoir, was brought to light. Stone mortars are not uncommonly found near ancient habitations in Anglesey ; several were brought to light with querns and other relics by the Rev. W. Wynn Williams at Llangeinwen. They may probably have been used for pounding grain or the like into pulp.

It has been stated that, in the same division of the hut, near the spot where the relic figured above was found, there was apparently a fire-place, E in the groundplan; it measured about 18 in. by 2 ft.; it may deserve notice that its almost central position in the dwelling would doubtless facilitate the escape of smoke, if, as I am inclined to believe, the roof was of conical form with an opening, probably, at its summit. Two other small fire-places, however, may have existed, as indicated by some marks of fire and traces of jambs noticed against the main circular wall of the building. See h and k in Mr. Elliott's ground-plan. Within and near the little fire-place first mentioned there lay a considerable number of sea-shore pebbles, that had evidently been long subjected to the action of fire, and on careful examina

i Arch. Camb., third series, vol. ix, p. 280. See Ibid, vol. iii, p. 356, a notice by Mr. R. Edmonds, of a grinding slab of granite, having a cavity on its upper face apparently for bruising grain by a globular stone. It was found with mullers and other relics in a barrow at Boleit in Cornwall. Compare a granite basin or mortar from Castallack Round, figured by Mr. Blight, Journal Royal Inst. Cornw., vol. 1, Oct., 1865, p. 68.



tion we could not hesitate to conclude that they had been employed in certain culinary operations. I am not aware that in the recent investigation of primitive dwellings, especially in Cornwall and Somerset, in Caithness and other parts of North Britain, any distinct evidence of the practice either of "stone-boiling," or of baking by means of heated stones, has hitherto been recorded. Mr. Tylor, indeed, has remarked in his interesting notices of such a practice in North America, Kamtchatka, New Zealand, and other Polynesian islands, that “the quantities of stones, evidently calcined, found buried in our own country, sometimes in the sites of ancient dwellings, give great probability to the inference which has been drawn from them, that they were used in cooking. It is true that their use may have been for baking in underground ovens, a practice found among races who are stone-boilers, and others who are not.”l By such a rude expedient it is certain that, when pottery or other vessels which would bear exposure to fire were unknown, water might be heated in skins,2 in vessels of wood or the like, and even in baskets that would hold fluids, by means of stones made red hot in a fire close by, and gradually dropped into the seething liquid. The natives of the Hebrides, moreover, as we are told by Buchanan, whose history was written about 1580, were accustomed to boil their meat in the paunch or hide of the animal. Many of the stones found in caves in the Dordogne explored by the late Mr. Christy and M. Lartet, appear, as Sir John Lubbock remarks, to have been used in this manner as “heaters."3

1 See Mr. Tylor's sketch of the history of stone-boiling, Early History of Mankind, p. 261-268; also the curious tradition related in p. 302. See also Sir John Lubbock's Prehistoric Times, pp. 250, 380. 2

Capt. Risk, with whom I had the opportunity of conversing at Penrhos, soon after the investigation of the hut-circles at Ty Mawr, informed us that he had witnessed the process of cooking meat in skins, or “paunch. kettles,” in the Brazils, at Buenos Ayres and Rio de la Plata.

3 The Rev. W. Wynn Williams, in his account of the walled enclosure and circular buildings at Penrhos Lligwy, on the north-east

[ocr errors]

I have recently had occasion, through the kindness of Mr. Edward T. Stevens, to examine the relics found in pit-dwellings near Salisbury, in 1866, and preserved in the Blackmore Museum in that city. The instructive collection there displayed, chiefly in connection with the “Stone Age,” and comprising an important series of ethnological evidence bearing on that obscure period, has been brought together through the generosity of the founder, Mr. W. Blackmore, with the co-operation of Mr. Stevens, by whose intelligent exertions in the arrangement of the collection archæological science has been essentially promoted. The singular domed pithabitations at Fisherton, about a mile west of Salisbury, consisted of groups of circular chambers excavated in the drift gravel, and supposed to have been winterdwellings of a people whose summer station was explored by Dr. Blackmore at Petersfinger and Belmont in the same neighbourhood. The first indication of such troglodytic habitations was supplied by the occurrence of calcined flints in large quantities, of which specimens were shown to me by Mr. Stevens ; his conclusions seem in accordance with my own, that these burned stones, mostly of a size to be conveniently grasped by the hand, may confidently be regarded as evidence of the practice of “stone-boiling,” or of some process of baking food by means of heated stones. In corroboration of this supposition, it must be noticed that the pottery, of which abundant fragments were found, seems to have been ill-suited to bear exposure to fire; and, as Mr. Stevens pointed out, the inner surface of many portions is coated by carbonaceous matter, suggesting the conclusion that it had been deposited by the charred stones thrown into the vessels, according to the primitive culinary process. No signs either of fire or coast of Anglesey, mentions the occurrence of sea-shore pebbles. These may, however, have been missiles for defence. No appearance of their being calcined is noticed. In “kitchen-middings" near the shore of Nova Scotia, were noticed, throughout the refuse deposit, with pottery, flint weapons, etc., many sea-beach pebbles bearing evi. dent marks of the action of fire. Anthrop. Rev., vol. ii, p. 225.

« PreviousContinue »