The first reported prehistoric grinding stone quarry in the Egyptian Sahara (new paper)

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.

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.

Here’s the abstract of my paper:

“In 2007, the first reported grinding stone quarry in the interior of Egypt’s Western Desert was found at the north scarp of the Kharga depression. It can be tentatively dated to Holocene prehistory, within the moist phase that lasted from ca. 8,500 to 5,300 BC, or slightly later. In this period, the climate was humid enough to support foraging and pastoralist cultures and thus grinding stones were needed to process vegetable matter, perhaps also mineral pigments. The discovered quarry is small, yet thousands of relatively standardised, flattish and oval, lower grinding stones were produced from the silicified sandstone, in particular with the aid of flint hammerstones. Since the quarry is located beyond major Holocene prehistoric occupation sites, it is interpreted as having been exploited in an organised way, by groups of people that regularly visited the place, and possibly also created rock art close by.”

Reference and PDF of the full paper:

  • Storemyr, P. (2014): A prehistoric grinding stone quarry in the Egyptian Sahara. In: Selsing, L. (ed.), Seen through a millstone. AmS-Skrifter 24 (Stavanger: Museum of Archaeology, University of Stavanger), 67-82. PDF at Academia.edu.

All papers in the volume “Seen through a Millstone” are open-access, and available at the website of Stavanger Archaeological Museum.

Previous blog posts about the discovery, and the millstone conference in Bergen:

The discovery was made on fieldwork with the North Kharga Oasis Survey (NKOS). This mission is still ongoing and directed by Salima Ikram and Corinna Rossi.

…and enjoy this little gallery of images from the grinding stone quarry at Kharga!

Location of the Sahara grinding stone quarry

About Per Storemyr

I work with the archaeology of old stone quarries, monuments and rock art. And try to figure out how they can be preserved. For us - and those after us. For the joy of old stone!
This entry was posted in Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, New publications, Old quarries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The first reported prehistoric grinding stone quarry in the Egyptian Sahara (new paper)

  1. Pingback: Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #5 | Doug's Archaeology

  2. Alain ANSELIN says:

    dear Per thanks for this article I like ! if  you wish write a short notice on the theme for the next CCdE, for the 15 years of the journal, it will be nice ! I ask an article also to Adel for the same ! I met him at Cairo in Origins 5, a great moment for me.  I hope we’ll meet again and we’ll meet also ! all the bestest Alain Anselin

  3. Pingback: The first reported prehistoric grinding stone q...

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