Original paper

Provenance and trade of volcanic rock millstones from Etruscan-Celtic and Roman archaeological sites in Central Italy

Renzulli, Alberto; Santi, Patrizia; Nappi, Giovanni; Luni, Mario; Vitali, Daniele


Rectangular hopper-rubber (Olynthian-style) and rotary (Pompeian-style) millstones were found, respectively, in the archaeological sites of Monte Bibele (4th-3th century B.C., Etruscan-Celtic Age) and Fossombrone (2nd century B.C.-6th century A.D., Roman Period). All the hopper-rubber millstones from Monte Bibele and three rotary millstones from Fossombrone were made using the leucite phonolite lavas from the same quarries which are located near Orvieto (Vulsini Volcanic District, Roman Volcanic Province; Central Italy). Since these leucite phonolites were also used in the Iron Age (pre-6th century B.C.) to produce small oval saddle-querns, a long continuous period of quarrying and production of millstones is therefore established for the Orvieto centre. Euganean Hills (Na-trachyte), Etna (hawaiite) and Iblean Mounts (tholeiitic basalt) were also identified as additional volcanic source areas for some millstones, mortars and/or worked lavas found at Fossombrone. This strongly supports the existence of a well organized millstone trade from different volcanic areas in the Roman Period.


archaeometrymillstonevolcanic rocklavaleucite phonolitetrachytehawaiitebasalt