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QuarryScapes guide to ancient stone quarry landscapes


QuarryScapes Atlas



Quarry landscape
of the month

August 2008

June 2008

April 2008

December 2007

May 2007

February 2007

December 2006

November 2006

September 2006

August 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

Googlesearch in Quarryscapes


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Quarry landscape of the month

April 2008: Millstone quarries at Hyllestad, western Norway

This month we display a quarry landscape outside the project region, in the home ground of the coordinator. From the Roman Period until the early 20th century, production of rotating millstones left behind huge quarry landscapes all over Europe. In Norway, the preferred rock for millstones was mica schist containing grains of garnet or staurolite. This bimodal distribution between hard and soft minerals proved ideal for the purpose of grinding. The Hyllestad quarry landscape is one of the largest and most long-lived quarry sites in the country, displaying more or less continuous production from the Pre-Viking Period until the last millstone was quarried in 1929. During the Viking Period and the Middle ages, the millstones were carved directly from the bedrock, leaving behind circular “negatives” on the quarry floors. Later on, the extraction techniques changed towards blasting with black powder, after this was introduced in the Norwegian mining sector.

Today, the Hyllestad quarry landscape remains as a well preserved testimony of quarrying through history. In addition to the many hundred quarries, there are also remnants of roads and harbors, from which the millstones were shipped. As Early as the Viking Period, millstones from Hyllestad were distributed also outside Norway, and in the Early Medieval Period they constituted a major part of millstones used in parts of Southern Sweden and Denmark.

 The Hyllestad quarry landscape is easily accessible for the interested traveler, thanks to the municipality and enthusiasts in the local community. There is an outside museum containing several of the most interesting quarries, and in the summer time one can grind grains on handmills in a medieval camp just beside the museum.

Text: Tom Heldal


•  www.kvernstein.no


Location map.

The millstones were carved directly from the bedrock, leaving circular shaped “negatives” of them on the quarry floor. Photo by Tom Heldal


Millstones from Hyllestad – rescued from an ancient shipwreck. Photo by Tom Heldal


Unfinished water millstone in the bottom of a deep millstone quarry. Photo by Tom Heldal


Torbjørn Løland demonstrates the ancient way of quarrying millstone. Photo by Tom Heldal


Handmilling with Hyllestad millstones. Photo by Tom Heldal




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November 2008
Final workshop: the third QuarryScapes workshop was held in Aswan 12. - 15. October
June 2008
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June 2008
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April 2008
QuarryScapes third workshop Aswan, October 12-15 2008

April 2008
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December 2007
Second QuarryScapes Workshop 18-21 October 2007, Petra, Jordan

December 2007
Final Reports: Aswan West Bank Ancient Quarry Landscape

March 2007
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March 2007
QuarryScapes fieldwork in Egypt: The final season of survey at the Aswan silicified sandstone quarries revealed previously undocumented ancient paved roads

December 2006
Second Aswan field season The second QuarryScapes fieldwork season in Aswan took place through November 2006.

November 2006
First symposium
The first QuarryScapes symposium took place at Divan Talya hotel in Antalya (Turkey) 15-17 October 2006.
More news
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Coordinator: NGU - Geological survey of Norway, Tom Heldal. Tlf: +47 73 90 40 00 . Partners. Layout: Lisa Løseth, NGU.