Ordinary things at an extraordinary place

A multi-faceted grinding stone

A multi-faceted grinding stone from Kvarnbo

As I have discussed in a number of my previous posts, there is a fair amount of quite so amazing finds from Sa 14.9 in Kvarnbo (of which not everything has been described here) indicating a rather extraordinary character of the place. But there are also finds that indicate more normal living at this site during the Late Iron Age; and these finds are as important for our understanding of the site as are the objects of more exclusive quality. I want to emphasise, however, that the finds of more ordinary character documented at the site so far were not really searched for at this stage of my investigations – I was just lucky to have found these during metal detecting and geophysical surveys.

A multi-faceted grinding stone made from quartzite was one of these ordinary things at this extraordinary place and it was found some meters east from the longhouse. Although grinding stones might have been used to grind the skulls of enemies 😛 these were still most commonly used for vegetable food processing and the facets on the stone are the result of grinding or rubbing. Being just 7 cm in diameter, the grinding stone from Kvarnbo has a perfect fit for my hand and I actually think that this stone would have been pretty uncomfortable to use for someone with bigger hands (totally reliable test supporting this statement was carried out with my visiting brother feeling the hold of the stone as well 😀 ). Together with the grinding stone, a piece of flint was found. Flint is not naturally occurring on Åland and must be imported to the islands from Southern Sweden or Denmark, but it is quite so usual find in the Iron Age context; pieces of flint were used for making fire.

First piece of the Iron Age ceramic from Sa 14.9

The first piece of the Iron Age ceramics from Sa 14.9

There was another piece of flint found in the field as well, this time much more – about 30-40 meters east from the longhouse, and in the area that turned out to be very interesting for the site. It all started when marking out the grid nr 3 for the survey with the ground penetrating radar in the area that was largely untouched by previous field works. This area was sloping to the east and standing at the lower end one could actually see that there are two terraces in the field – the higher one with the longhouse on top and east from that there is a lower terrace. On the edge of this lower terrace, a sandy area of about 15 x 4 meters was observed stretching from south to north. And around this sandy area really nice lumps of wattle-and-daub were observed, including an absolutely fabulous piece with both the side with imprints of twigs and straws and the smooth outer side being represented on the same piece. Also, burned bones were noted in the same area. And I am pretty sure that we have located another house in the field north of the church of Saltvik 🙂 Furthermore, south from this new house, by another suspiciously sandy patch, the first piece of the Iron Age ceramics from Sa 14.9 was picked as well. Thus, in a way as expected, there are more building remains to be found by the hall structure.

If you can see the sandy lens in the field on this photo - you see the traces of a longhouse ;)

If you can see the sandy lens in the field on this photo – you see the traces of another longhouse at Kvarnbo 😉


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