It is evident throughout that this book represents a serious meditation on a lifetime of engagement with the study of querns and millstones, and on the cultural and environmental contexts in which they were used.
Instead, however, he has chosen to write a well-rounded, ethnographically and scientifically grounded examination of the topic that is easily accessible to archaeologists who are not specialists in the study of millstones and milling.
Chapters 1-6 present the development of quern and millstone technology, from the saddle querns and rock mortars of the late Palaeolithic, through Iron Age rotary querns, and Olynthus- and Pompeian-style mills of the Greek and Roman periods, to the water mills of the Roman and Late Antique periods.
Unlike millstones, which are often hammer-dressed or edge-flaked, tjiwa blanks were usually not shaped prior to use (Gould et al.
However, none appear to have evidence of preparation of the blank, or pecking on working surfaces, that is an integral part of Central Australian millstones.
1997) argued that 'amorphous' grindstones and millstones are the opposite ends of a reduction trajectory that begins with flat grindstones and ends with the more deeply worn 'troughed' millstones.
Microscopic examination of tjiwa shows that even heavily worn implements exhibit only weakly developed use-polish (unlike millstones, which often have a bright, well-developed reticulate polish) (Smith et al.
This compares with 500 g of seed ground in two hours (250 g per hour) by women using millstones (Cane 1984; O'Connell and Hawkes 1981).
To the east of Fregon, tjiwa may be replaced by millstones traded from quarries in the Flinders Ranges and around Lake Eyre (McBryde 1987).
31; Tindale 1977), which we can now see generally corresponds to the distribution of millstones in contrast to that of tjiwa.
It is tempting to suggest that 'amorphous' grinding slabs resembling tjiwa may have been a precursor to intensive seed-grinding on 'troughed' millstones.
To do this, it will presumably be an advantage to distinguish tjiwa from more elaborate implements such as millstones.
They are the only granite millstones in the area and were gifted to Kirkleatham Museum by the Troup family of Marsh Farm in the 1980s.
Perhaps with a plaque on the millstones stating their true provenance?