Lava rotary querns of "Iron Age type" in Roman times


In Mayen the production of lava rotary querns of ‘Iron Age type’ continued from the late La Tène period into Julio-Claudian times. The lower quernstone possessed a domed grinding face and the upper stone was double concave in section. While the surfaces of these querns are usually pecked, late examples show a segmented radial grooving on the grinding surfaces. Handle sockets with elbow-shaped (L-shaped) perforation were already an innovation of the late Iron Age.

Since Augustan times ‘typical Roman’ hand-mills were the main product of the Mayen quarries. They had a meta with a flat conical grinding surface and a catillus with a broad raised rim. The active surfaces were grooved for functional reasons. However, the upper side of the catillus and the sides of upper and lower stones were grooved for decoration, making these rotary querns a characteristic ‘branded’ product.

Most of the ‘Iron Age type’ quernstones of Early Imperial times are known from the Low Countries were they go under the name of Brillerij-type. A survey of these quernstones reveals several examples found to the southeast of this region. Even after the typical Roman hand mills became the dominant form, some ‘vintage’ Iron Age type querns were still produced for a special clientele. Though, so far, virtually no closely dated specimens are known from contexts after the Batavian revolt.

Author Biography

Stefan Wenzel, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum

Kompetenzbereich Vulkanologie, Archäologie und Technikgeschichte (VAT)
Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Archäologie
An den Mühlsteinen 7
56727 Mayen

Tel.: +49 2651 700 60 16
Fax: +49 2651 700 60 60

How to Cite
Wenzel, S. (2019). Lava rotary querns of "Iron Age type" in Roman times. Journal of Lithic Studies, (in press). Retrieved from
Articles from the 2nd Meeting of the Association for Ground Stone Tools Research