On the way to discovery of the first reported prehistoric grinding stone quarry in the Egyptian Sahara. Dirk Huyge walks the stony desert. Photo: Per Storemyr.
Some time ago I wrote about the discovery of a prehistoric grinding stone quarry in the Egyptian Sahara. Now the discovery is duly published! It was presented at the conference “Seen through a Millstone” in Bergen, Norway, in 2011. Recently, editor Lotte Selsing of the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger finalised the conference volume; an array of very interesting papers dealing with grinders and millstones across the world, from prehistory to the medieval period. Read on for abstract of my paper, get PDF and view a gallery of images. Continue reading
Ruinene av Edmundsirken og en del av det middelalderske klosterkomplekset på Hovedøya. Foto: Per Storemyr
I et aldeles praktfullt sensommervær var jeg siste uke Riksantikvarens utskremte på jakt etter de gamle steinbruddene som ble brukt til å bygge Edmundskirken og cistercienserklosteret på Hovedøya i Oslofjorden. Flere har gjort det samme før meg, men nå var det meningen å virkelig få kartfestet de gamle bruddene, og å prøve å tolke hvordan steinarbeidet kan ha vært organisert i gamle dager. Continue reading
Torbjørn Løland showing one of the millstone quarries in Hyllestad, at Otringsneset just by the fjord. Photo by Per Storemyr
Suddenly it reached the local press, and so the news became very official: Our family will move from Switzerland to Hyllestad in West Norway by the end of July this year. This is not a move to just any kind of place, but to the little community far west in Norway that holds one of Europe’s largest and most long-lived millstone quarry landscapes, and the outdoor heritage museum Norwegian Millstone Centre (Norsk Kvernsteinsenter). Continue reading
The Roman “el-Deir” road heading out from the West Bank at Aswan. It bypasses the whole First Cataract of the Nile and joins the preserved Roman roads in Lower Nubia. Photo: Per Storemyr
The long-awaited book on Desert Road Archaeology in Ancient Egypt and Beyond finally seems to be here! Edited by Frank Förster and Heiko Riemer of Cologne University, and with 25 individual contributions, it is the yet most complete survey of ancient desert roads in Egypt. My own contribution to the book is written with Elizabeth Bloxam, Tom Heldal and Adel Kelany; a chapter on the amazing ancient roads at the west bank of the Nile at Aswan, in the First Cataract region. We review the area’s complex network of long-distance Pharaonic and Roman roads, more recent camel trails, and not least the best-preserved quarry roads in Egypt; the 20 km paved and cleared network from the “quartzite” quarries at Gebel Gulab and Gebel Tingar. Read extended abstract, view paper at academia.edu, see maps and view image gallery! Continue reading
Norway: My favorite quarry, a small gneiss quarry used for the Selja medieval monastery at the westernmost part of the country. From fieldwork with the Directorate for Cultural Heritage of Norway, Photo: Per Storemyr.
I want to thank my readers for following my blog in 2013. Happy New Year to you all!
I really do appreciate your loyalty and I hope to be able to write more articles for you about stone – about quarries, monuments and rock art – in 2014 than I did in 2013. In the year that is soon coming to an end I had to focus on various projects and writing for other media than the internet. Many of the great places that I visited and worked at in 2013 may certainly turn up in future blog posts, so I hope you will continue to follow my writings in 2014. As for now, here’s a cavalcade of images from some of the quarries, monuments and rock art sites that touched me over the past twelve months. They span all of history from the Mesolithic to the Early Modern era. Enjoy the slide show! Continue reading
Posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Norway, Old quarries, Rock art, Switzerland
Tagged Ancient Egypt, Cultural heritage, Norway, quarry, rock art, Switzerland
Cracked chert from fire setting. Photo: Per Storemyr
Recently I posted a preliminary report on our successful experiments with fire setting in the Melsvik Stone Age chert quarries in Northern Norway. For some curious reason German-speaking readers were not able to watch the attached video of the experiments, perhaps due to country-specific copyright infringements related to the music in the video. Sadly, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash is obviously not for all! But here’s another version of the video, this time without good old Johnny: Burning Rock. Experiments with fire setting (without music). Continue reading
Bonfires to crack up stone in the Melsvik chert quarry. Photo: Per Storemyr
In the Melsvik Stone Age chert quarries near Alta in Northern Norway there are dozens of extraction marks that are difficult to explain by other ancient techniques than fire setting. Hence within the Melsvik archaeological project, run by the University Museum of Tromsø, last week we experimented with fire in order to substantiate that it actually formed an important method of breaking loose small and big pieces of stone. The idea was that it is not necessary with big fires and high temperatures, but that small, controlled “bonfires” are enough to create high shear stress and cracking. In this way high temperatures greatly reducing the quality of the chert for tool making are avoided. It works! Here’s a preliminary report with video. Continue reading
The unique geometric rock art motif at location ATB 14 at el-Hosh in Upper Egypt. Photos: Per Storemyr
A year ago Dirk Huyge and I published a paper in the Sahara journal on a unique rock art “masterpiece” found among the Epipalaeolithic “geometric” (c. 5-9000 BC) assemblage at el-Hosh in Upper Egypt. Recently, we published another version of the discovery in Ancient Egypt Magazine. Continue reading
Pinned to the cliff: Kropfenstein medieval cave castle. Photo: Per Storemyr
Switzerland is renowned for its castles and castle ruins, remnants of the feudal Middle Ages. A time when we may not have wanted to live! At least not as common people. But sometimes we may question whether life was much better for the nobility, for society’s elite. Take a look at the remains of Kropfenstein castle, pinned to a vertical cliff in Surselva (Grisons), difficult to access, away from the nearest village. Great place for a special holiday, you might think – but would you have liked to reside here, year in, year out? Continue reading