The importance of food processing in the past is evident from the frequent occurrence of milling tools on archaeological sites. During the Roman period in Britain, imported lava milling tools from the Mayen region of Germany complement those of indigenous stone types, but distribution and use of lava in the province has never been systematically examined. This research presents the first study of this material in Roman Britain, cataloguing and analysing 2,707 lava milling tools from 564 sites. A further 601 sites where lava was absent but other lithologies occurred have also been recorded. Analysis was completed using an object biography approach to investigate the key stages of manufacture, distribution, primary use, reuse/modification, and deposition at various case study sites to reflect lava milling tool use in rural, urban, and military contexts.
Lindsay Banfield completed her PhD and MA at the University of Reading and her BA at UCL, where she was the recipient of the Bryan Clauson Prize for Roman Archaeology. Her research interests focus on detailed analysis of Roman period finds to explore themes of identity.
‘The data is all new, and extremely valuable to the subject area. Bringing together the data from multiple sites allows good opportunities for cross site analysis, which to my knowledge has never been done.’ Dr Frances McIntosh, English Heritage ‘This will be a significant publication: an all-encompassing BAR touching on every theme associated with German Lavastone quern and millstone.’ Dr Kevin Hayward FSA, University of Reading ‘This is the first synthetic study of lava milling material in Britain and will form a useful base line both for further specialist studies and to inform archaeological field workers and report writers.’ Dr Elizabeth Blanning, Hon. Research Fellow, University of Kent