• latw-67-1
    Basalt mortar and marble pestle. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)
  • latw-67-20
    Stone mortarium and pestle (No. 67). (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Basalt mortar and marble pestle

Date
Ca. mid-sixth century BC, Lydian
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 7107
Inventory No.
7107
Sardis CATNUM
S86.009
Material
Basalt, Marble, Stone
Object Type
Stone Vessel
Site
Sardis
Sector
MMS
Trench
MMS-I 86.1
Locus
MMS-I 86.1 Locus 125
Description
Basalt mortar and white rubbing stone or pestle. Mortar is a shallow bowl with low vertical rim and three legs. The interior is worn smooth from use; the exterior is smoothly worked but not polished. Legs rectangular in section with vertical grooves on outside. Rubbing stone is hand-sized, its sides smoothed to a gentle curve which that exactly fits the interior curve of the mortar. Its sides are worn from use, its ends slightly battered from pounding. Intact. Height 0.081 m, diameter 0.29 m.
Comments
From the court of a Lydian house destroyed in the mid-sixth century BC (Area 4-6, with Nos. 70, 71, 76, 77, 79, 89, 98, 99). Such mortars would have had a different function from the larger millstones used for grinding wheat and barley to flour or meal (Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”); they would be more suitable for crushing vegetables, nuts, and other such foods. They may also have been used for de-husking grains before grinding (although those implements were usually larger, and maybe made of wood). A cooking pot nearby contained barley husks, by-products of such de-husking.
Discussed
Cahill, “City of Sardis”; Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”; Cahill, “Persian Sack”
Bibliography
Greenewalt et al. 1990, 151-52.
Author
NDC