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A Survey of Millstones from Morgantina Author(s): Donald White Source: American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 67, No. 2 (Apr.

, 1963), pp. 199-206 Published by: Archaeological Institute of America Stable URL: . Accessed: 16/06/2011 08:46
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Theseus in connection with the fall of Knossos may be comforted by the only Knossian vase in Attica being Marine Style in a III A:' context. There is no more evidence for absolute chronology than there used to be. The period of intense Minoan influence on a genuinely Mycenaean Greece starts some time after the accession of Amenhotep I ca. 1546; the latest shaft graves and most tholoi are made in the reign of Hatshepsut after ca. 1504 (including the tholos at Knossos); the second shock which causes Knossos to be redecorated in a new style probably comes after Senmut's tomb was painted in the first third of the fifteenth century, and this new Greek Knossos stays alive and vigorous through the reigns of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy (ca. 1411-1379) whose seal and scarabs are found (though poorly stratified) with III A:I pottery at Haghia Triadha and Mycenae. The fall of Knossos may occur rather after 1400 than before. The last phase at Knossos is contemporary with transitional phases in other mixed communities abroad where "degenerate" Palace Style or III A:I sherds increase in density as trade increases: Miletos, Ugarit, Enkomi, Triandha, Phylakopi. Greek Knossos seems to participate in these overseas adventures. One simple illustration: Palmer's "late" stirrupjars which have caused so much pain and record-searching are paralleled exactly by exported stirrup-jars in Troy and Ugarit ca. 1400. At Troy they appear in level VIg, "Cretan oatmeal fabric" accompanied by late versions of the Palace Style and Mycenaean III A:I. At Ugarit they belong to the phase just after 1400 when the records tell of Canaanite merchants being allowed to import duty-free from Crete.o0 This review of Knossos chronology is partly a reminder of established ceramic facts too often overlooked, partly tentative in proposing that the Palace Style is not "equivalent" with an historical period. It offers a compromise to the warring Knossos experts. A destruction of Knossos in III A conforms to the archaeological data reported by Evans and tested by Hood, and helps explain the similarity of forms between LM III A and LH III A-B which Palmer noted. LM I A, in its long rich maturation, becomes a more recent and controlling experience for developers of "empire" styles in both regions. The crux of the Knossos problem seems to lie in LM II, not LM III B,
10 Blegen et al. Troy III fig. 330, Immerwahr AIA60 (1956) 455; Schaeffer, Ugaritica I, 72, fig. 68; IoI; ILN (Io April 1954) 574. Cf. J. L. Benson, Berytus 15 (1962) 37ff. 11 I am grateful to ProfessorsMarinatosand Caskey for their discussions of this problem; neither is convinced, but Caskey points out Pendlebury's "symptomatic" illustration of the same cup as LM II (AC pl. 35.2 right side up) and LM III A (pl. 40.3 upside down). Alexiou has analyzed the fusion of LM I, II, and III styles in a single vase, KChron (1954) 9, and Levi has explored the implications of LM I and III lying together on the same floors in Central Crete, BdA (1959) 253.

and in the antipathy of stratification to aesthetic classifications. If the Palace Style is found on the same floors as LM I A and LM III A:I we must adapt to it. The ultimate and proper judges are of course the excavators of Knossos."


It was Cicero's opinion that, "Omnem utilitatem oportunitatemque provinciae Siciliae . . . consistere in re frumentaria maxime."' "Quid est enim Sicilia si agri cultionem sustuleris?"2 Although perhaps reflecting an overly urbanistic bias, this is not an unfaithful commentary on the economic conditions of the island before the time of Christ.3 Within this context it may be noted that the city of Morgantina was an important center for the production of grain. Its commanding situation in the western foothills of Catania's fertile plain gave it control over the extensive fields of the Gornalunga valley and Poggio Rosso, which today serve as productive wheat lands.' That the same conditions prevailed in ancient times can be surmised from certain observations made by Cicero, for on two occasions he singles out Morgantina as an example of a city which once possessed flourishing fields of grain.5 But of more specific interest is the prosecutor's story of Polemarchus,6 a citizen and farmer of Morgantina who owned a small establishment of fifty iugera. We are told that from this unhappy person Verres extracted a tithe of one thousand medimni of wheat, which, if the figures have not been corrupted, would indicate that the Ager Murgentinus was capable of an astounding productivity.7 While these scattered remarks preserve no more than a dim reflection of conditions long posterior to Morgantina's floruit, they do cause us to presuppose an earlier history of agrarian activity, for which there is a certain amount of material evidence: Morgantina's only silver issue of coinage, dated to the first half of the fifth century, carries as its reverse type an ear of
aid and advice. 1 Cicero, In Verrem 4.5. 2 ibid. 4.97. 3 For the familiar subject of Sicily as a grain producing center, see S. Calderone, "I1 Problema delle Citta Censorie e la Storia Agraria della Sicilia Romana," Kokalos 6 (I96O) 3-25. Also see T. J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks (Oxford 1950) 211-17. B. Pace, Arte e Civilt~ della Sicilia Antica (Rome 1935) I, 367-77. 4Cf. Sj6qvist and Stillwell, AJA 61 (i957) 157 and 62 (1958) 155. See also, Sj6qvist, "Serra Orlando-Morgantina," Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Serie 8, Vol. 14, fasc. I-2, 39. 5 Cicero, op.cit. 4.18; 4.43. 6 ibid. 4.23. 7The passage is discussed by Dunbabin, op.cit. 213.

* I wish to thank the Princeton Expedition for permission to use the material discussed in this note. I also wish to thank Professors Sj6qvist and Stillwell personally for their valuable



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wheat.8 This symbolistic appreciation of the importance of grain was matched on a more practical level by the construction of a capacious civic granary, built for the storage of public wheat. This structure, discovered in 1959 to the southeast of the main agora, took the form of a rectangular building some ninetytwo meters long; it is dated to the time of Hieron II and seems to have continued in use until the first half of the first century B.C.' And finally, excavation has made it clear that the chief deity to receive veneration from the city of Morgantina was Demeter, three of whose sanctuaries have been discovered within the city walls.1o It would therefore seem that the city's use of an ear of wheat as the emblem of its most important coin issue, its construction of an elaborate granary, and its devotion to the goddess of grain all add substance to the picture suggested by Cicero that Morgantina was a center for the production of wheat. Bearing these facts in mind, it is not surprising that there should have been found during the last eight seasons of excavation a large number of ancient milling devices. This material is illustrative of all the basic developments which mills underwent in the GraecoRoman world from prehistoric times to the first century B.c. With a few notable exceptions, excavations in the past have not been conspicuous for their careful documentation of millstone finds. It was partially in recognition of this fact that an excellent book was recently published by L. A. Moritz on the subject of mills in antiquity." This scholarly treatise has described and systematized the millstone finds made in classical lands. However, as the author found himself on occasion handicapped by the lack of stratigraphically controlled material, it is clear that his study needs fresh illustration and supplementary data, and it is for this purpose that the mills from Morgantina, found in relatively great numbers at a single site, are now presented. By way of introduction to the catalogue it should be said that the actual quantity of millstones discovered at Morgantina varies according to each type.12 Only three pre-Greek saddle-querns (TYPE I A) have
8 B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford 1911) 157. S. W.

been found, while the archaic Greek saddle-quern (TYPE I B) has been found in numbers far too plentiful to catalogue all known examples. The lower grinding platforms of TYPES I A, i B and TYPE 2 (the hopper-rubber mill) are never abundant, and all complete and nearly complete examples have been catalogued. The TYPE 2 upper stones are numerous, and as in the case with the i B saddle-quern, a representative selection has been made. Only one example of the TYPE 4 mill has been found. The TYPE 3 rotary mill, hitherto rarely found in pre-imperial settlements, is unusually well represented at Morgantina. In contrast to other sites, where there have seldom been reported more than half a dozen examples, Morgantina has over eighty examples of either the upper or lower stones. Numerically this compares very favorably with the numbers of stones reported from Ostia and Pompeii,13 the two greatest sources for our knowledge of this type. The majority of the examples existed above ground before the Princeton Expedition began work in 1955, and today they are to be found set up in the gardens and on the walls of many of the small farms adjacent to the site, where they serve a variety of purposes.4 However, a sufficient number have been excavated in dated contexts to provide a secure documentation of the type's chronology at Morgantina. Catalogue



The earliest type of millstone found at Morgantina is the pre-Greek "saddle-quern," a type familiar to archaeologists for many years.5 Here, as in the case of all subsequent ancient mills, the operating principle is to crush the grain between two abrasive surfaces, one made stationary, the other movable. Simple as the implementation of this principle is in the case of the prehistoric quern, it represents a considerable advance over the earliest of all methods, which was to use the petra naturalis as a bed and any nearby stone as the grinder.'6 The material used for this mill and for all the later types was lava stone.'7 The mode

their relatively unworn condition, must have been beneath the earth until fairly recent times, suggests the possibility that an ancient commercial milling establishment was in recent days I, pl. 82.10. discovered and emptied. This would have occurred in an area 9 Cf. Sj6qvist, AJA 64 (1960) 130-31. hitherto not excavated, for nothing so far has been discovered 10 Cf. AJA 62 (1958) 158-60; 63 (1959) 169, 171; 64 (1960) 133. Cf. also E. Sj6qvist, "Timoleonte e Morgantina,"Kokalos at Morgantina suggesting the presence of a commercial or civic mill. 4 (1958) 7ff. 11 L. A. Moritz, Grain-Mills and Flour in Classical Antiquity 15The original identification of these stones as millstones (Oxford 1958). To be referred to infra as Moritz. apparently goes back to Schliemann. Cf. Ilios (Eng. trans. Lon12 The catalogue consists of four basic mill types. Since all don 188o) 234. For a general discussion of the type, see Moritz, four types have an upper and a lower component part, the 18-21. The references have been most conveniently collected by upper stones will be designated by their type number, followed W. Deonna, Delos, XVIII (Paris 1938) 123-24. See also E. C. by lower-case 'a,' and the lower stones by lower-case 'b.' The Curwen, "Querns," Antiquity II (1937) 135ff. 16 Moritz, 9 n. 2. prehistoricand archaic mills, separatedin time, but of essentially 17 At Morgantina, as elsewhere in Sicily, lava was the same type, are to be designated by type number followed generally by upper-case 'A' and 'B' (e.g., TYPE I B b signifies the lower selected as the raw material for millstones. The explanation for this lies in lava's hardness and in its pitted, abrasive surface. grinding platform of an archaic Greek saddle-quern). 13 Cf. The first characteristicprovided a milling surface that was not Moritz, 74, 93. 14 Usually as vasi da fiori. The question of how the peasantry only resistant to wear, but also one that would not contaminate came upon such a large number of mills, which, to judge from the flour with stone particles. The pitted, scoriaceous surface Grose, Catalogue of the McClean Collection (Cambridge 1923)





of operation was to place grain on the lower stone; the upper stone was grasped with both hands, and ground with a circular motion over the surface of the lower stone, reducing the grains of wheat to the desired grade of flour.

A a.


The upper stone or saddle-quern consists of a lava slab, flattened on its bottom or grinding surface, and with a convex top. It has an elliptical outline and resembles in its general appearance a flattish and slightly elongated turtle shell. The two ends are shaped into rough protuberances, which served as grips. I. Length 42.0 cm. Width 24.0 cm. Height 6.5 cm.

(pl. 47, fig. x). off Broken at oneend.Lacksdistinct grips.Length 34.0 cm. Width31.0 cm. Height 9.0 cm. 3. Length34.0cm. Width23.0cm. Height6.0 cm.


Only two examples of the pre-Greek grinding platform have been found at Morgantina. Both are heavy slabs of lava, left by the stone-cutters with only partially finished surfaces, except for the actual grinding surfaces, which were trimmed smooth. The great weight of both examples makes it unlikely that, when once fixed in position, these stones were intended to be moved. No. 4 infra, with its rounded unstable bottom was seated in a permanent bedding of earth.s8 4. Grinding platform roughly ovaloid in outline, with a section cut into one of the shorter ends, which results in an unsymmetrical perimeter. Circular depression worn in center of platform. Sides and bottom left in rough state. Max. length 51.0 cm. Width 39.0 cm. Thickness 22.0 cm. (pl. 47, fig. 2). 5. Cut in shape of heavy rectangular block, with only grinding surface finished smooth. Sides and bottom left rough. Middle of grinding surface worn lower than the two short ends. Length 73.0 cm. Width 48.0 cm. Thickness I9.0 cm.19

mill, remains nevertheless in all essentials the same implement. However, the desire for a more systematic mode of operation led to a reshaping of the stone, which made it possible to work it with a straight backand-forth motion, rather than with the somewhat random rubbing movement called for by the pre-Greek stone.21 This was brought about by lengthening the stone along its longitudinal axis and by cutting grips at both ends. In addition, the stone's height was increased, and this caused an increase in the weight distributed over the grinding surface. The earliest stratigraphically datable archaic quern, Cat. No. 6, still resembles the prehistoric querns in its low elevation, its sloping profile and in its relatively great width. During the archaic period there can be traced a progressive development toward a narrower and higher type of quern, with a spine running longitudinally and well defined hand grips. The lower archaic stone or grinding platform was a lighter and more easily trans-portable stone than was its prehistoric predecessor, and this allowed it to be moved about in the house-complex. TYPE I

B a.


The archaic saddle-quern's grinding surface has elongated elliptical outline. In section, the stone appears to be cut sharply back from edge of the grinding surface to a central longitudinal spine, which, when seen in profile, extends from grip to grip. Grips, cut into the narrow ends of quern, are often the point of highest elevation. No traces of striations found on bottom of stones.22 6. Still resembles a turtle shell in its outline. Hand grips protrude from narrow ends. No central spine, but rounded in section. Length 41.0 cm. Width 17.5 cm. Height Io.o cm. 7. Cut back to a central spine, which dips and then rises at center of stone, producing a profile resembling that of a matador's hat. Length 46.5 cm. Width 21.o cm. Height Ii.o cm. 8. Carefully worked example, with long tapering outTYPE I B. INTRODUCTION line. In section precisely curved back to central The archaic Greek saddle-quern,20 while representspine. Length 47.0 cm. Width 26.0 cm. Height ing a refinement in its fabrication over the prehistoric II.o cm. (pl. 47, figs. 3, 4).
stratum above it. Possibly the stone was quarried during the Sicel occupation but remained in use during the later period. Its surface shows signs of wear characteristicof archaic mills. See infra note 21. 20 See Moritz, 34-41. 21 The pre-Greek grinding platform, Cat. No. 4, was left with a circular depression in its center, while the archaic platforms were worn uniformly towards their center, leaving the short ends higher than the middle. This shows that the upper stones were pushed back and forth, following the length of the lower stones, rather than being rubbed in a circle. 22 Cf. Olynthos VIII, pl. 79. I, for a saddle-quern with longitudinally running striations cut into its grinding surface. Striations are a common, but not inevitable feature of the Olynthian grinding platforms. The Morgantina mills, with the exception of Cat. No. 23, lack such striations.

was caused by the bursting of gas bubbles during the cooling process, and since the entire body of the stone is thus made up of abrasive pits, the highly efficient cutting surface was renewed, rather than destroyed, by wear. The source of Morgantina's lava was undoubtedly the Aetna region (cf. Strabo, 6.269), but precisely where in this region cannot be said. No single locality is mentioned in ancient literature as being responsible for the manufacture of Sicilian mills, and it may be that such a monopoly was prevented by the unrestricted supply of the raw material all over the island. For the ancients' views on lava's porosity, cf. Anth. Pal. 9.19; Ovid, Fasti 3.290. For its hardness and heaviness, cf. Quint. 2.19.3. For its density, cf. Plato, Hipp. Mai. 292. For its durability, cf. Pliny, N.H. 36.18. 18 Pace Moritz, 43ff. 19 This example was found seated in a pre-Greek, Sicel stratum, but its upper portion protruded into the archaic Greek



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9. Miniature example. In section has appearance of inverted V. Length 25.0 cm. Width 12.5 cm. Height 8.o cm. TYPE I


Thin rectangular platform. All sides worked smooth, with vertical edges straight, rather than tapered inward (as is the case with TYPE2 b). Grinding surfaces worn down so that short ends are higher than the middle. No traces of striations. io. Original width not preserved. Middle of stone worn 3.0 cm. lower than short ends. Length 60.0 cm. Width (incomplete) 26.0 cm. Thickness 6.0 cm. I1. Middle of stone worn 2.0 cm. lower than short ends. Length 65.0 cm. Width 39.0 cm. Thickness 6.0 cm.

The "Hopper-Rubber" or "Pushing Mill" (Mola Trusatilis23) has been made sufficiently familiar to archaeologists through the work of Kourouniotes and through publication in excavation reports to make unnecessary any exhaustive description of its functioning.24 The Morgantina examples all belong to the general category of "more advanced hopper-rubbers," as opposed to the "earlier variety."25 The mill was worked by means of a wooden handle, which was placed across the top of the stone and held in place by two shallow slots cut into the rim at the two short ends. One end of the wooden handle was fixed to a pivot, while the other end was used as a lever to push the hopper back and forth over the grinding platform with a to-and-fro motion (pl. 48, fig. 9). This type of mill supplied two advantages over the older saddlequern type: in the first place, the hopper released the operator from the task of continuously adding grain. And second, the introduction of the lever increased the mechanical advantage of the operator's arms, which in turn permitted an increase in the weight of the upper stone.26

shallow slots, cut into hopper rims at ends of block, hold wooden operating handle in place. Two grooves, usually crescent-shaped in section, ran horizontally across the vertical face of each end and served as additional fixing devices.28Width of slit at bottom of hopper varies greatly, depending on amount of wear the stone has received. Hopper rims always thicker on ends than on sides. Maximum width 38.0 cm. Maximum length 12. 45.5 cm. Thickness 14.0 cm. Hopper 30.0 by 31.5 cm. Handle slots exceptionally shallow, i.o by 6.0 cm. Grain slot 24.0 by 2.5 cm. (pl. 47, fig. 5). 13. Maximum width 31.0 cm. Maximum length 45.0 cm. Thickness 14.0 cm. Hopper 23.0 by 33.0 cm. Grain slot 17.o by 3.0 cm. 14. Maximum width 34.0 cm. Maximum length 45.0 cm. Thickness 12.5 cm. Hopper 20.0 by 27.0 cm. Handle slots 2.5 by 7.0 cm. Grain slot 26.5 by 2.0 cm. (This hopper was found complete with its lower grinding platform; cf. infra, no. 16.) 15. Unusual square shape. Maximum width 42.5 cm. Maximum length 43-5 cm. Thickness 9.0 cm. Hopper 35-5 by 29.5 cm. Handle slots 2.5 by 6.5 cm. Grain slot 27.0 by 6.5 cm. A very worn example. TYPE 2


The lower grinding platform for the hopper-rubber mill consists of a thin rectangular platform, having the edges tapering outward in order to provide a convenient grip for lifting. No traces of striations. I6. Top dimensions 42.0 by 60.0 cm. Bottom dimensions 38.0 by 58.0 cm. Thickness 10o.5cm. 17. Tapers outward on one pair of adjacent sides only. The other two sides left vertical. Width 43.0 cm. Length 6o.o cm. Thickness 8.0 cm. I8. Fragmentary example. Sides tapered outwards only at the corners (where original corners are preserved). Width 35.0 cm. Length (as preserved) 27.0 cm. Thickness 0o.o cm. The bottom left in an unfinished state. TYPE 3.

The rotary mill is without doubt the best known type TYPE 2 a. DESCRIPTION of ancient mill. Representations of such mills are fairly The hopper consists of a low rectangular-shaped common on Roman monuments, as are allusions to block of lava, the four verticalfacesof which taper them in ancient literature. However, the remains of inward,with a V-shaped hopper,27 ending in a slit this type of mill, chiefly at Ostia and Pompeii, are most the let through bottom, intothe top of the stone.Two responsible for the almost universal familiarity with
device was needed to keep the wooden operating handle in place. An Olynthian mill was found with iron rods set in lead below the slots, forming hooks over the handle, while some of simple adaptation the examples from Delos had hooks serving the same purpose quern. The quern was widened and provided with a hopper let into the edge of the rim to either side of the handle. Cf. cavity in its center. The grain was poured into the hopper and Olynthos VIII, 329, figs. 33 and 34; Delos XVIII, pl. xxiii, nos. fed out a slit in its bottom. The stone was worked back and 379, 380. It is likely that these grooves on the Morgantinastones forth in the same way as the saddle-quern. Cf. Wiegand- were part of a similar locking device: if two rods are laid in Schrader, Priene 393 and Delos XVIII, I26 for examples. the grooves across the narrow ends of the stone, they can be 28 Cf. Olynthos VIII, 327 and Moritz, 46-47. held in position by cords, tightened by twisting, running along 27 Advanced hopper-rubberswith oval, rather than rectangu- the long sides of the stone. The tension exerted by the twisted lar, hoppers have been found at Olynthos. Cf. Olynthos VIII, cords prevents the rods from rising out of the grooves. Straps 328, pl. 80, 5 and 6. or loops connected to the rods over the handle hold the handle 28 The two rim slots are so shallow that some locking in its narrow slots. hopper
24 See Kourouniotes, ArchEph (1917) 153. See also Olynthos VIII, 227ff and Delos XVIII, 126ff. 25 The earlier variety is a of the saddle23

For the name mola trusatilis, see Moritz, 52 and 63ff.





the rotary mill.29 As a technological achievement this mill is not as radical a step forward as it might at first seem. Both the hopper and the lever had been introduced by the TYPE 2 mill. The only essential change produced by the rotary mill was to replace an inefficient back and forth motion with a continuously rotating movement. A corollary of this improvement was that animal power could be employed to drive the mill, but, as will be pointed out, this was never done at Morgantina. The essential differences between the familiar Pompeian type and the Morgantina variety require a somewhat fuller general description of this type than was needed for the earlier types. 3 a. DESCRIPTION The upper half of the rotary mill or the catillus30consists internally of two cones, the upper inverted and superimposed on the lower; these are interconnected at their apices by a hole, the upper cone serving as the hopper, the lower providing the rotating grinding surface. In all examples measured, the height of the upper cone varies from being only 21 per cent of the height of the lower cone to 59 per cent. In no instances are they even nearly equal. Externally, the concave profile of the catillus may vary from a simple curve to an obtuse angle, reflecting externally the angle formed within the stone by the joining of the two superimposed cones. Prominent features of the Morgantina catillus are the sockets, projecting like large ears at either side of the stone, into which were fitted the wooden beams used for driving the mill around. These are never centered at midpoint of the exterior surface, but project from the bottom upward, covering as much as four-fifths of the external profile. These sockets fitted a beam rectangular in section, and are horizontally pierced to receive pins to secure the beams in place.31 Two shallow slots are cut into the hopper's rim, not at a point directly above the beam sockets, but at 900 away from that point.32 The most likely explanation for these slots is that they held in place either a lid or some kind of wooden extension to the hopper to increase its capacity.33 19. Part of a complete example. (Cf. infra, no. 23) Height 36.0 cm. Maximum upper diameter 43.5 cm. Maximum lower diameter 51.0 cm. Maximum hopper diameter 36.0 cm. Height of hopper io.o 29Discussion variousaspectsof the rotarymill comprises of a large portionof Moritz'GrainMills and Flour. See chs. II, VIII and IX for the rotarymill in literature for its invenand tion, which the authorplaces in the second centuryB.c. For on the mill as depicted the monuments as it is knownfrom and the remainsat Pompeiiand Ostia,see ch. XI. For its distribution, see ch. XII. in 30 The terms catillusand meta are discussed Moritz,76,
n. 2. 31 For a TYPE

cm. Diameter of hole between cones i8.o cm. Maximum lower cone diameter 45.0 cm. Height of lower cone 26.o cm. Beam socket i.o by 7.5 i cm. (This is an internal measurement, indicating the size of beam employed.) Rim slots I.o by 5.0 cm. (pl. 47, fig. 6) 20. Height 3i.0 cm. Maximum upper diameter 45.5 cm. Maximum lower diameter 54.0 cm. Maximum hopper diameter 35.0 cm. Height of hopper 5.0 cm. Maximum lower cone diameter 49.0 cm. Height of lower cone 26.o cm. Wall of lower cone is cracked and shows signs of much wear. Beam sockets Io.o by 8.o cm. Rim slots 2.0 by 5.5 cm. This is the most exaggerated example of a small hopper combined with a large lower grinding cone. 21. Height 23.o0cm. Maximum upper diameter 36.0 cm. Maximum lower diameter 40.5 cm. Maximum hopper diameter 26.5 cm. Height of hopper 7.0 cm. Diameter of hole between cones 17.o cm. Maximum lower cone diameter 33.o0cm. Height of lower cone 16.o cm. Beam sockets 7.5 by 6.0 cm. Rim slots I.o by 8.o cm. 22. Height 35.0 cm. Maximum upper diameter 45.0 cm. Maximum lower diameter 51.0 cm. Maximum hopper diameter 32.0 cm. Height of hopper 13.0 cm. Diameter of hole between cones I8.o cm. Maximum lower cone diameter 34.0 cm. Height of lower cone 22.0 cm. Beam sockets II.o cm. by 8.o cm. Rim slots i.o by 4.5 cm.

3 b.


The lower rotary millstone, or the meta, consists of a low drum-like or cylindrical base, which tapers into a truncated cone. The cone served as the stationary grinding surface. The cone's top was consistently cut flat, rather than being rounded off or pointed. Numerous examples have holes of varying shapes and sizes cut into the cone's top.34 Only one example was found with vertical grooves let into the sides of the cones35 (see infra, no. 23). 23. Diameter of cylindrical base 48.0 cm. Height of cylindrical base i5.0 cm. Height of cone 34.0 cm. Diameter of top of cone i4.0 cm. Surface of cone divided vertically by nine shallow grooves. This example belongs with no. 19 (pl. 47, fig. 7).
by vertical beams. 32 Some of the Pompeian examples have slots in the rim of the catillus directly above the sockets to contain the horizontal crossbeam. The fact that the Morgantina examples do not have these slots in the same position is proof against the use of such crossbeams. a3 See Moritz, 77, 85-86, pl. 5 b, for the evidence from the monuments of lids and hopper extensions. Possibly the slots were used to position a "spindle" or vertically-running rod seated in the top of the meta. This would act to center the upper stone. 4 Perhaps to hold spindles to center and steady the catillus. They also may have served to hold a "rynd" or metal disk which governed the speed at which the grain was fed between the two grinding surfaces. 35 The Pompeian mills lack striations, but see Moritz, 79.

to the Pompeian mill by means of the beams, see Moritz, 8o,

discussion how the drivinganimalwas harnessed of

of mill's pls. 5 and 7. The heavyconstruction the Morgantina sockets,as well as their projecting position,indicatesthat the mill was rotated pressure directed by againsta beamprotruding from the socket,ratherthan by pressure againsta crossbeam, laid acrossthe top of the catillusand connected the sockets to



[AA 67

24. Lacks the lower cylindrical base; bottom of cone oval in section. Height 40.0 cm. Maximum diameter 52.0 cm. Diameter of top 25.0 cm. Square cutting in center of top, 8.5 cm. wide and 3.0 cm. deep. 25. Diameter of cylindrical base 47.0 cm. Height of base 14.0 cm. Height of cone 27.0 cm. Diameter of top 17.0 cm. Very shallow hole let into top. 26. Base oval, rather than circular in section. Maximum diameter 6o.o cm. Height of base 2i.o cm. Height of cone 28.o cm. Diameter of top 25.0 cm. Hole cut in center of top, 5.5 cm. in diameter and 5.0 cm. deep.

The small rotating hand mill is represented at Morgantina by one example only." While it functions according to the same general rotating principle, it differs from the preceding TYPE3 mill in its smaller size, its construction and in its mode of operation. Rather than walking around the mill, the operator rotated the upper stone from a stationary position (pl. 47, fig. 27. TYPE 4 a. The upper grinding stone. Circular tapered drum, with upper diameter smaller than lower. Upper diameter 33.0 cm. Lower diameter 36.5 cm. Cone-shaped hopper let into top, 7.0 cm. deep. Hopper rim 4.0 cm. wide. Slots let into opposite sides of rim 4.5 cm. wide and 3.5 cm. deep. Concave grinding surface let into bottom of stone 4.0 cm. deep. Hopper connected to grinding surface by oval hole, 7.0 cm. long and 5.0 cm. wide. Two small holes, positioned close to oval hole along its longitudinal axis, to seat spindle and/or rynd. 28. TYPE 4 b. Lower grinding stone. Circular drum, 36.5 cm. in diameter. Height i2.o cm. Convex top matches concave bottom of upper stone. Hole 4.0 cm. deep and 4.5 cm. in diameter, lined with lead, let into top. Beyond demonstrating the existence of an already obvious aspect of ancient life, the usefulness of millstones has generally been considered circumscribed, and perhaps for this reason little attention has been paid to their basic chronology. This is unfortunate, since mills, if properly recognized, can serve as at least rough indices of time. However, while in the case of the Morgantina mills it has been possible to determine the upper time limits for each type, it is clear that the mills were slow in wearing out and that the usefulness of a given type was not immediately terminated by the introduction of a more advanced type. In other words, there was an overlapping of types, with the result that saddle-querns have been found in levels in
36The type has been studied by E. C. Curwen in two articles; cf. Antiquity 11 (I937) 133-51 and 15 (1941) I5-32. See also V. G. Childe, ibid. 17 (I943) 19-26, as well as Moritz, 103-21.


which hopper-rubbers predominate, and hopper-rubbers in levels belonging to the latest occupation of the city. This factor should be kept in mind during the following chronological analysis. Morgantina's earliest saddle-quern, Cat. No. 3, was found in a level containing ware of the Pantalica II Culture or Cassibile Phase, which has been dated from ca. Iooo to 850 B.C.37 The earliest grinding platform was found on the floor of a prehistoric hut reported in this journal and dated by its excavators to the general period of the tenth to the seventh century." To judge from the circumstances under which the grinding platform, Cat. No. 5, was found, the TYPE I A mill continued in use without interruption down to and somewhat after the occupation of the archaic citadel by the Greek colonists,39 who arrived some time during the first half of the sixth century. The earliest stratigraphically datable archaic saddlequern (Cat. No. 6) was found on the acropolis in a context dating to the middle of the sixth century. As I suggested, this mill bears a strong resemblance to the pre-Greek querns, and it would therefore seem that the pre-Greek and archaic Greek querns were part of a single, uninterrupted series. The possibility must be entertained that some of the querns found in archaic strata were actually quarried during the preGreek occupation and survived the transition from Sicel to Greek. All the catalogued archaic querns, however, with the exception of No. 6, appear from their modified shape to be genuine products of the archaic phase. Because of a certain lag in the development of the city, brought about by its remote position, the archaic period lasts into the 460's at Morgantina. TYPE I B mills are found in abundance down to the end of this decade. When life begins anew at the beginning of the fourth century, the period of the saddle-quern's greatest use is finished, although occasional examples appear in later strata. The first TYPE2 hopper-rubber (Cat. No. 13) which can be dated with any precision appeared in the occupation level of a late fourth, or early third century house. In dating this type at Olynthos, Robinson conjectured that the type must "go back to the fifth century at least, and was probably preceded by the similar leverless type," but he admits that no published examples of the earlier type appear before Priene and Thera.40 Moritz, on the other hand, believes that the "advanced" (i.e. Morgantina) type must be "at least as early as the sixth century."41 He seems to have arrived at this conclusion on the basis of a single hopperrubber found by Orsi at Caulonia in southern Italy. This mill was misconstrued by Orsi to be "una feritoia completa in duro granito," or a loophole-type window casing belonging to a fortification tower of the late
38E. Sj6qvist, AJA 62 (1958) 1579 For Morgantina's archaic phase, its duration, collapse and eventual renewal in the fourth century, cf. ibid. 155-57. See also E. Sj6qvist, "Serra Orlando--Morgantina," Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Serie 8, Vol. 14, fasc. 4off. 41Moritz, 51. 1-2, 40 Olynthos, VIII, 332.

37 Cf. L. Bernabo-Brea,Sicily Before the Greeks (New York 1957) 154-56.





seventh or early sixth century.42 The mill was found close to where the tower had collapsed, but its exact stratigraphical position was not recorded. Apart from the curious dating for the tower in question, Orsi's complete misidentification of the object he had discovered seems sufficient reason for disregarding this sole piece of evidence for the existence of an advanced hopper-rubber so many years before the first recorded examples of the supposedly earlier type. I therefore concur with Robinson's opinion that the hopper-rubber, at least the advanced variety, was an invention of the fifth century. However, this still leaves a considerable lacuna between the hypothetical fifth century invention of the TYPE2 mill and its first appearance at Morgantina in the latter half of the fourth century. While earlier examples may yet be found, the explanation probably lies in the slow and sporadic recovery made by the city during the fourth century after its long interregnum during the fifth. It was only after Morgantina, which had been so effectively destroyed by the Sicel king Ducetius around 459 B.c., was brought back into the sphere of Syracusan influence in 397 B.c. that life in the city went through a kind of disordered and protracted revival, until the arrival of Timoleon gave it momentum. In this period of desultory building and economic depression, it is not surprising to find a lack of examples of the newer and more complicated TYPE 2 mills. There is no doubt that the earlier TYPE i B continued in use, and served the needs of the small community of hangers-on who built up the ruins of the destroyed archaic city. By the end of the fourth century and from the third century onwards the hopper-rubber mills were in full use. Examples have been found close by the Hieronic granary, within the third and second century Demeter sanctuary, and in general throughout all of the Hellenistic agora area. The type continued in use down to the latest period of occupation, being found in the latest habitation levels of the Northeast and Southern Shops and the House of the Tuscan Column, which is to be dated from ca.
120 B.c.

to 50


I have already mentioned the care with which Moritz has examined the TYPE 3 rotary mill. The great accomplishment of his study has been to demonstrate the irregularity of considering the rotary mill a product of Homeric times and a device found in all subsequent phases of ancient times. It is Moritz' conclusion that the earliest certain reference in ancient literature occurs in Cato's De Agri Cultura, dated to around i60 B.c., and that there is no solid evidence that the rotary mill was known to the Roman world before i85 B.c.43 For lack of any contradictory evidence, Moritz is inclined to accept with much hesitation Pliny's statement, based on the authority of Varro, that the rotary mill was an invention of Northern Italy.4 In the process of formulating the second century date, Moritz rejects certain fragmentary reports of rotary 42P. Orsi, "Caulonia. del CampagneArcheologiche 1912, it did not exist before then." 44 Pliny, N.H. 36.135. 1913 e 1915,"MonAnt23, 727-31, fig. 16. 43 "Forits earlierexistence 4. Cf. Moritz, 53-59thereis not one compelling piece 46 ibid. of evidence, on although, the otherhand,thereis no proofthat 75, fig. 8.

mills found in earlier contexts.45 While the often tenuous nature of these reports justifies Moritz' scepticism, it must be said that his second century dating will not work for the Morgantina examples. The complete mill (Cat. Nos. 19 and 23), found in a house complex on the acropolis, came from the occupation stratum of the dwelling, which clearly dates to the third century. This occupation stratum, in which were found both catillus and meta, contained thirteen bronze coins, none to be dated later than the third century. These consist of two undated Siculo-Punic coins, two struck at Rhegion and dated from 270 to 203 B.c., and nine Syracusan coins, one of the time of Agathocles and eight of Hieron II. In another room within the same house complex was found a large deposit of terracotta figurines; in a study made of this material preparatory to publication, Professor E. Sj6qvist has divided the figurines into seven types, not one of which he believes may be dated later than around 240 B.c. On the basis of this evidence it would be difficult to assign a date lower than ca. 21o, at the very latest, for this mill. In addition, this particular example is a completely "normal" Morgantina type rotary mill, with no idiosyncrasies to suggest that it is an early experimental model; accordingly one is permitted to suppose that the type had been in existence some time before this mill, possibly as early as the fourth century. Although the remaining catalogued examples cannot be said to come from definite third-century contexts, several were found in situations where they were being re-used in walls of the second century, which would seem to imply that they were in use as mills during an earlier period. The Morgantina mill differs from the Pompeian mill of later times in several important respects (pl. 48, fig. io). In the first place it is much smaller. The average Pompeian mill's catillus is some seventy cm. high, and the meta some sixty.46 The largest catillus found at Morgantina is only thirty-six cm. high, and the highest meta less than fifty cm. The smaller size marks the most fundamental difference between the two. The Pompeian mill was almost certainly animal-driven, while the Morgantina mill was man-driven, no doubt by slaves. The services of a donkey would have been superfluous in the case of the smaller Morgantina version, where a man (or two women) could easily manage. In addition to size, the Morgantina mill differs in construction, and should be regarded as a prototype of the Pompeian mill rather than a slightly older and reduced version of the same machine. The essential difference lies in the catillus: externally the Pompeian catillus consists of two equal cones, joined at their apices. It is reversible. The Morgantina catillus, on the other hand, is constructed in such a way that the upper cone or hopper is never equal in size with the lower grinding cone. In other words, it could not be reversed. Furthermore, the Pompeian mill's beam sockets are







small, relative to the catillus' total height, and are recessed into the wall at a point where the two cones' apices join, whereas the Morgantina beam sockets take the form of large protrusions, which dominate much of the external profile. As has been suggested from the evidence of the grooves cut into the rims of the Pompeian mills, together with the differences in beam sockets, the system of beams used for rotating the Morgantina and Pompeian mills differed radically from one another (cf. notes 35 and 36). Two final differences which may be mentioned are that the Pompeian catillus seems to have had an iron band wrapped around the exterior of the stone at its narrowest point and that its meta had a rounded top. The Morgantina catillus lacks all traces of such a band, and its meta invariably has a flat top. Rotary mills found at Delos parallel closely the small dimensions of the Morgantina mills, but the majority of examples resemble the Pompeian mills in their construction, having apparently reversible catilli with inset beam sockets.47The single example (B5613) which, to judge from its photograph, seems to have a smaller upper cone than lower, has the receded beam sockets. A catillus found in North Africa at Philippeville is described as resembling the Morgantina type,48 while two metae, again reported from North Africa, possess the flattened top, but greatly exceed in size the Morgantina metae.49 However none of these examples can be dated to a period as early as that of the Morgantina stones, and consequently they remain as disjecta membra which do not help in establishing the source for the rotary principle. A clue may lie in a remark by Cato. In listing the equipment needed for the working of an olive orchard, he mentions "molas asinarias unas, et trusatilis unas, Hispaniensis unas."50 Moritz believes that the first is the large ass-driven mill, the second the TYPE 2 hopper-rubber, and the third-the so-called Spanish milla small rotary hand mill of which the Morgantina TYPE 4 mill is an example. His evidence for the latter point is that rotary hand mills have been found in the second century Besiegers' Camp at Spanish Numantia, where the type seems to be older than the Roman occupation.51 If the rotating method was discovered early in Spain, it could have been transported early to Sicily. "If one leaves aside the prehistoric period, one finds numerous occasions when the Iberians were in Sicily, mainly because of the Carthaginians' foothold
47 Cf. Delos, XVIII, 133-34, pl. lii, nos. 391, 394 and 395. See also VIII, 229, fig. io8. 48 M. Delamere and S. Gsell, Exploration scientifique de l'Algirie (plates by Delamere, Paris I85o; description by Gsell, Paris 1912) pl. i6o, nos. IX and 12. 49 Saladin, Archives des missions scientifiques, 3e ser. xiii, 48, fig. 74; 55, fig. Ioo. 50 Cato, Agr. 10.4. 51 Moritz, Io9. For a fourth century date, see Bosch Gimpera, Annuari d'Estudis Catalans 6, pp. 654, 660. The early dating for the Iberian mills is very much unsettled. 52 K. Erim, AJA 62 (1958) 85. 53 A Morgantina type meta was discovered in the ruins of Punic Motya, which was destroyed in 397 B.c. The stone measures 40.0 cm. in height and has the characteristicflattened top.

in both countries. The excellent military qualities of the Spaniards, particularly as horsemen, made their use as mercenaries highly desirable. It is not surprising, therefore, to find many references in Diodorus Siculus to the use of Iberian mercenaries by the Carthaginians in Sicily during their various conflicts with the Greeks. The examples begin with Himera in 480 B.c. (Diodorus 2.1.5) and continue through the fourth century."52 If the Hispano-Punic soldiers were in fact responsible for introducing the technique of rotary milling, in the form of the small hand mill, to Sicily at some time during the fourth century, the principle could have been quickly adapted by Greek ingenuity to the making of the larger, slave-driven TYPE 3 mill and in that form spread gradually over the island. This would, of course, explain nicely the presence of such mills at Morgantina (and elsewhere)53 during the third century and possibly earlier.54 "Sed lucus a non lucendo." Unfortunate for such a theory is the lack of well-documented finds of small rotary hand mills both in Sicily and on the Iberian Peninsula at a sufficiently early date. The Morgantina hand mill, Cat. Nos. 27 and 28, was found in one of the city's latest occupation strata and is useless for the early dating of such mills in Sicily. The type is not reported elsewhere on the island before Roman times. A greater obstacle is the fact that the reported Spanish finds cannot be proven to be of earlier date than the TYPE3 mill at Morgantina. Therefore, while the small hand mill would seem to provide a likely prototype for the TYPE 3 mill, until more satisfactory archaeological evidence is forthcoming, there are no objective grounds for assuming such a connection. A final word on the later history of the mill. By the middle of the second century, the TYPE 3 mill was in use simultaneously with the molas asinarias, which, however, is known at this early date only through literary reference. During the following centuries the small Morgantina-type slave mill continued in use, but underwent certain structural modifications. The most important of these was the making of a more useful reversible catillus, as exemplified by the small mills found on Delos. And finally it is clear that the type persisted well into imperial times, where at Pompeii and other locations the slave-driven mill is found together with the common and universally-known assdriven mill.55 DONALD

Cf. J. Whitaker, Motya, A Phoenician Colony in Sicily (London 1921) 96, 283-84, fig. 63. Moritz rejects this as evidence for the rotary mill's early introduction, but the argument is strained. Cf. Moritz, 55-56. 54 It might be asked if, rather than the small rotary hand mill, Cato did not have in mind the Morgantina TYPE 3 mill as his molas Hispanensis-a type which in Cato's day might very well have been remembered as the "Spanish mill," and so named, somewhat inaccurately, after the source of its rotating design. As Marcellus' military tribune in Sicily Cato would have had sufficientopportunityto observe the slave-driven mill in use, so that later he could distinguish it in his writings from the molas asinarias. 55 Cf. Moritz, III-I12, and pl. 4 a.




Fig. I. Prehistoric saddle-quern Fig. 2. Prehistoricgrinding platform

Fig. 3. Archaic saddle-quern, top

mill Fig. 5. Hopper-rubber

Fig. 4. Archaic saddle-quern, side

Fig. 6. Rotarymill

Fig. 8. Rotatinghand mill

Fig. 7. Meta of rotary mill






Cord Twister

Grinding Platform Operating Handle


Fig. 9. Reconstruction of the Morgantina hopper-rubber mill


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Fig. Io. Cross-section of rotary mills from Pompeii and Morgantina