Sunday, August 10, 2008

Millstones are Interesting!

We visited a place called Millstone Park and it was fascinating. For at least a thousand years people have been mining millstones from this area. Millstones are used to grind grain into usable flour. The stone must have a few very specific qualities. In order to work properly, the stone must remain rough. Most stones when ground together for prolonged periods of time would get smooth. Millstones must be made of a stone that has both "soft" and "hard" stone components so that as the soft wears away the hard stays put and keeps the surface rough. Initially they were turned by hand, but later water was used to move a turbine and the stone.

You can see the stones that were not fully removed here. Notice the round indents in the ground where millstones were removed.

This is a large millstone that would have been water-powered.
Here you can see the two pieces of the millstone on top of each other. One rotates while the other stays still.

The Hyllestad area was the center of the millstone universe for many years. Hundreds of years ago they were exporting millstones to various parts of Europe and Scandinavia. There were a few colossal shipwrecks. One dumped hundreds of millstones into the sea (see above). A millstone represented approximately 4 man years of labor, so this was a huge loss.

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