Puddingstone Quern

Nominated by: Jill Eyers

My favourite object is a Roman quern made from puddingstone, from Hambleden, south Bucks.

The object is wonderful in many ways. Firstly, it shows the skilled workmanship by the local people during the Roman occupation.  Secondly, the stone is exceptionally hard and would be very difficult to work into the shape, yet it was fashioned with care into the kitchen object seen here.  A quern is a grinding stone, and with a wooden handle in the side it would have ground pound after pound of grain for the villa household.  It was therefore only a kitchen utensil, but it is so beautiful.  

The various colours of the flint pebbles with their black coating, stand out against the pale sand surrounding them.  This rock is a local, Bucks stone called puddingstone, which is a type of sandstone boulder known as sarsen.  It is 100% quartz (quartz pebbles and sand and a quartz cement) making the stone extremely hard wearing. 

The puddingstone was formed 50 million years ago when Britain was a hot, semi-arid land with torrential rainfall on occasions, which brought the pebbles and sand down river channels.  It sat there, as a layer in our landscape, for 48 million years until the intense cold of the Ice Age shattered it. Blocks of this rock are scattered over parts of Bucks, and people from ancient times through to our modern world have made use of them for all sorts of purposes.

This puddingstone quern was nominated by Jill Eyers.