Quern research sheds new light on the diet of Iron Age and Roman settlement inhabitants

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Professor Harold Mytum and John Cruse examine a late-Roman hand quern
John Cruse and Professor Harold Mytum examine a late-Roman hand quern

Expert John Cruse (Yorkshire Archaeological Society) recently visited the Professor Elizabeth Slater laboratories to examine a selection of querns found in the major excavations of the Castell Henllys Iron Age fort and native Roman period settlement.

John noticed the limited number of Iron Age forms of hand quern, but larger quantity of late Roman designs. They indicate that the diet of the Castell Henllys inhabitants shifted from mainly porridge in the Iron Age to home-made bread in the Roman period.

John will be analysing the styles of the querns, and the rock types of which they are made, to identify cultural and trade links, and how these changed over the 800 years the site was occupied.

Professor Harold Mytum says:

The impact implications of the study are considerable and will link to the Research Excellence Framework. Querns are easy to display and resilient enough for the public to touch. There's a replica quern they use in one of the reconstructed roundhouses; after this study we can get one made that is more authentic in terms of what we have found at the site.