Object of the Month June 2018

A Rotary Quern from Cawston, Rugby

During October 2012 an archaeology evaluation took place on Cawston Lane, Dunchurch, conducted by Cotswold Archaoeology.  The highlight of the finds is a complete Iron Age rotary quern which is now on display in the Archaeology Gallery.

Querns were used to grind corn into flour to make bread.  Rotary querns consist of  two circular stones that fit together.  The top mobile stone, called the handstone, rotates over the bottom stationary stone, called the quern.  There would be smaller holes on the top stone to hold wooden pegs to rotate thestone.  Grain is poured in through a central hole (hopper) and the ground coarse flour would appear from between the two stones. 

Rotary querns were introduced in the Middle Ages c. 400 BC.  Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods saw the market for quern stones dominated by imported stones of vesicular lava, though local stone was also pressed into service. The use of a quern at home could impinge on a manorial monopoly over milling, so such objects are more usually associated with periods before this monopoly was widely imposed.


object of the month