Project Leader: Gurli Meyer
Project duration: 01. March 2009 - 01. March 2012
'Millstone' is a multidisciplinary research project supported by the Norwegian Research Council. Combining geology, archaeology, hisotry and geography, the project seeks to develop methods for characterisation and valorisation of the Norewgian Millstone Landscape, with special emphasis on the quarries.
The 'Norwegian millstone landscape' is the historical narrative of human interaction with specific stone resources crucial to the production of the most fundamental food, flour. The shaping of these extensive cultural landscapes by millstone quarrying provides a rich historical record of the social, economic and political processes that surrounded food production for over 1500 years. Moreover, the consumption of millstones at local, regional and international scales represents conduits in the evolution of trade and social networks that grew around the millstone quarrying industry, and that define an extended millstone landscape. Today, the socio-cultural and economic values of these millstone landscapes are at best greatly underestimated or, at worst, completely unknown.
Millstone quarry landscape in the mountains: Selbu, Sør-Trøndelag County
This project seeks to shed new light on the physical and historical aspects of these multifaceted landscapes through comprehensive field surveys and interdisciplinary research, including geology, archaeology, history, and landscape geography, aiming at characterisation and reconstruction of the Norwegian millstone landscape as a narrative that links the past with the present in a common heritage.
In the Viking Period, handmills were carved directly from the bedrock. From the Hyllestad millstone landscape, Sogn og Fjordane County.
The project is built on three approaches: 'The Physical Millstone Landscape' focuses on the variety of quarry areas in Norway, their common and diverse physical features and time depth. This study is symbiotic to a study of the distribution and trade of millstones 'The Extended Millstone Landscape' focusing on temporal and spatial distribution patterns of millstones (consumption). The third perspective 'Millstone Landscape Values' is to articulate the character-defining elements of these landscapes in terms of their significance at the local, regional and international level, providing heritage authorities with information and interpretation necessary to encourage local preservation and promotion of these landscapes as key socio-cultural and economic resources.
Please follow the links in the right column for more information. This English version of the Millstone web site will be built out with more information and research results during the project period.
Distribution and trade of millstones is an important aspect of the project. This picture shows a stock of millstones from Selbu in Trondheim, late 19th Century.
Download project description