Whetstones....

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Littleboot
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I was plodding around on a bit of my permission which has produced a goodly amount of medieval and early post-medieval 'stuff' (to use the technical term) . It also has a smattering of Roman (doesn't everywhere?) and Celtic. It had rained properly for the first time since it was ploughed and rolled and I was finding some nice pieces of pottery...as you do....and sticking them in my pockets as i wafted about with the Nox.
during this, two shapes that were not pottery but also not natural shapes caught my eye. Turns out they are whetstones. The thin one in particular shows a groove where it was probably attached to twine and hung on a belt. The back of it is not smoothed and you can clearly see the mica crystals glinting in the stone.
I have no idea how old they are ....most references on the PAS seem to hedge their bets to extreme lengths by saying a range from Iron age to 18th century. :roll: I suppose that is possible...but given the range of finds most prevalent in this area of my ground i'd say from 13th to 17th century and favouring the early part of that spread.
Any thoughts?
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Steve_JT
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Found whilst you were wafting for stuff
You are getting technical :lol: must be a Nox thing

Are they natural stone or composite, that may help date them although quite broadly, as you said a wide age range as they would be needed to sharpen tools from way back

I will do some searching out of interest into wet stones

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Littleboot
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They are not composite. I have some 19th century composite whetstones ...which i still use....and they are quite different. No, these are natural stone. I found out the name of the stone but I can't remember it now! But definitely natural stone and definitely shaped by use....in fact there are visible cut marks across the smaller piece.
Wafting...not to be confused with mere 'casual wafting' is a technical term,
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Steve_JT
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Firstly, apologies on using the word Wet stone, Whet should have been used, it means to Sharpen not wet……learn something every day
In this link below
https://sharppebble.com/blogs/blogs/a-p ... ng%20metal.

(Edit) Another interesting link
http://www.wbrc.org.uk/WORCRECD/34/Whit ... etsto.html

CHAP. 47.—WHETSTONES.

We must now pass on to the stones that are employed for handicrafts, and, first of all, whetstones for sharpening iron. Of these stones there are numerous varieties; the Cretan stones having been long held in the highest estimation, and the next best being those of Mount Taygetus, in Laconia; both of which are used as hones, and require oil. Among the water-whetstones, the first rank belonged to those of Naxos, and the second to the stones of Armenia, both of them already1 mentioned. The stones of Cilicia are of excellent quality, whether used with oil or with water; those of Arsinöe,2 too, are very good, but with water only. Whetstones have been found also in Italy, which with water give a remarkably keen edge; and from the countries beyond the Alps, we have the whetstones known as "passernices."3
To the fourth class belong the hones which give an edge by the agency of human saliva, and are much in use in barbers' shops. They are worthless, however, for all other purposes, in consequence of their soft and brittle nature: those from the district of Laminium,4 in Nearer Spain, are the best of the kind.
1 In Chapter 10 of this Book.
2 See B. v. cc. 22, 35, for two places of this name.
3 A Celtic word, probably
4 See B. iii. c. 2.
The Natural History. Pliny the Elder. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S. H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A. London. Taylor and Francis, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street. 1855.

Pliny the Elder (from Wikipedia)
Gaius Plinius Secundus, called Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of emperor Vespasian. He wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias.
Born: Como, Italy
Died: 25 August 79 AD, Stabiae
Full name: Gaius Plinius Secundus
Children: Pliny the Younger

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Oxgirl
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I have found a similar type of stone in a field too. It’s been smoothed on the break on one side and I’m convinced it was a whetstone too. Can’t prove it though and it doesn’t help with dating. Sorry :D
Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
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Oxgirl
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Yes I really don’t like Roman coins, I’m not joking
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Steve_JT
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Oxgirl wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:40 pm Just found this guide if it helps?

http://www.wbrc.org.uk/WORCRECD/34/Whit ... etsto.html
Snap...edited and put that link in my first post :thumbsup:

interesting read, unless a whetstone is found with an artefact in context it would be difficult to date I guess

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A foolish faith in authority, is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
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Something else to look out for, while listening for signals.
You learn something new everyday.
Thanks, Jan, :thumbsup:
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Source material for whetstones were used by many different cultures and so are difficult to date accurately. With multi occupation sites examples may have been lost regularly over a long period of time so what appears to be a find from a Roman site can equally have been lost in Medieval times as the landscape was farmed.

The same can be said of millstones and querns with the same rocks used by many cultures. If the material did the job in the Iron Age it also did so for the Romans and so on. For example vesicular basaltic lavas from the Voges in France and the Eifel Region of Germany were used to make millstones during the later Roman period, by the Saxon and into later early Medieval times utilising the same quarries in many instances.

Stylistic variations do occur and that can be said for wetstones as well. The trick is to look at examples from as many excavation reports as possible and those examples that have been recovered from a securely dated context rather than as surface finds.
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