2003.175.1

Saddle quern found in Moss.

Saddle quern

Courtesy of Catriona McLeod

Saddle querns are the most ancient and widely used type of quern-stone. This one was found in Moss in the mid-1980s and may date back to Neolithic times. It was used with a rubbing stone held in the hand, a process that crushed the grain rather than ground it.

Considered women’s work, preparing grain using a saddle quern would have taken many hours and placed great strain on the body, particularly the toes, knees, hips and lower back. They continued in use into the medieval period and were superseded by rotary querns.

Turnbull, in a report on Tiree written in 1768, wrote that meal was made ‘with querns or hand mills which appears to be an expensive and troublesome method. Two women at once, or sometimes three, are commonly employed. By this means there is so much of their time taken up that it greatly retards them from other industry.’

Tiree in 100 Objects – 2 – Saddle Quern

The History of Tiree in 100 Objects

Object Details

Other Number: not specified

Bedstone of a saddle quern found in the grounds of Sunny Brae, Moss

A saddle quern is a large rock with a hollow on its surface which was used to grind grain into flour by rubbing the grain with a hand-held stone. Their use dates back to the Neolithic period (4,500-2,500BC) but continued to be used into the 20th century.

Normal Location: Main Store North: freestanding
Current Location: normal location

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