This archaeometric study was focused on 28 grey to dark-grey lava artifacts found in Ustica Island (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy) and referable to different grinding tools: saddle querns, rotary Morgantina-type millstones, rotary hand-mills and one small mortar. Mineralogy, petrography and bulk rock geochemical analyses emphasized that most of the grinding artifacts belonged to the Na-Alkaline series of Ustica, mainly basalts, hawaiites and mugearites. Nevertheless, some millstone samples did not match major and trace elements of Ustica lavas, in particular, one high-TiO2 Na-Alkaline basalt from Pantelleria Island, some tholeiitic/transitional basalts from the Iblei Mountains and one Calcalkaline basaltic andesite, most likely from the Aeolian Archipelago. The Hellenistic-Roman re-colonisation of Ustica Island, after ca. one millennium of nearly complete abandonment, was testified by the import of the non-local Morgantina-type rotary millstones, very widespread in the Mediterranean area from 4th-3rd century BC. This import of millstones represented, for the Ustica inhabitants, a real breakthrough for developing a local production of grinding artifacts on the basis of the new rotary technique which was much more efficient than that of the archaic saddle querns, largely used in the Middle Bronze Age. The results are also discussed in the framework of the overall volcanic millstone trade in the Mediterranean area and the different milling technology in antiquity.

Volcanic grinding tools in Ustica Island (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy): local production vs. import of Morgantina-type millstones in the Hellenistic-Roman period

Patrizia Santi;Alberto Renzulli
2020

Abstract

This archaeometric study was focused on 28 grey to dark-grey lava artifacts found in Ustica Island (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy) and referable to different grinding tools: saddle querns, rotary Morgantina-type millstones, rotary hand-mills and one small mortar. Mineralogy, petrography and bulk rock geochemical analyses emphasized that most of the grinding artifacts belonged to the Na-Alkaline series of Ustica, mainly basalts, hawaiites and mugearites. Nevertheless, some millstone samples did not match major and trace elements of Ustica lavas, in particular, one high-TiO2 Na-Alkaline basalt from Pantelleria Island, some tholeiitic/transitional basalts from the Iblei Mountains and one Calcalkaline basaltic andesite, most likely from the Aeolian Archipelago. The Hellenistic-Roman re-colonisation of Ustica Island, after ca. one millennium of nearly complete abandonment, was testified by the import of the non-local Morgantina-type rotary millstones, very widespread in the Mediterranean area from 4th-3rd century BC. This import of millstones represented, for the Ustica inhabitants, a real breakthrough for developing a local production of grinding artifacts on the basis of the new rotary technique which was much more efficient than that of the archaic saddle querns, largely used in the Middle Bronze Age. The results are also discussed in the framework of the overall volcanic millstone trade in the Mediterranean area and the different milling technology in antiquity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11576/2675875
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