Quern Stone Working on Wharncliffe Crags

Quern Stones, used for grinding corn, seem to have been produced on Wharncliffe Crags since the Iron Age and continued at least into Roman times.

These activities have been known about for some time and as long ago as 1949, a survey was carried out of the area, however since the mid 1950s the area has become move overgrown. When a an accidental fire cleared an area of 8 hectares in August 1996, English Heritage took the opportunity to re survey the cleared area using modern techniques and to modern standards.

For about a week, a number of Fire Engines and Portable Pumps were used to pump water from the nearby dam and streams.

The Pipes used Snaked through the woodland to the edge of the fire zone.

Fire crew sprayed water around the edges, day and night, to stop the fire spreading.

The following statistics were collected at a talk given by Trevor Person of English Heritage, as part of South Yorkshire Archaeology Day held in November 2000

A survey was carried out by Butcher starting in 1949, and covering an area of 72 hectares.

In the 8 hectare area covered by English Heritage, over 2000 stones were identified in one form of another.

Three types of stone have been identified - Beehive Querns, Disc Querns ana a small number of millstones (Over 1m in diameter).

Obvious tracks have been identified with the routes cleared of loose stones and even small bridge stones over gullies.

Controlled burning of other areas of undergrowth is being considered to allow further areas to be surveyed in the future.

A Beehive Quern Stone is displayed in the Stocksbridge Public Library.

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