Stone in Archaeology Database

Honiton Scythe Stone

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Local Name(s): Honiton Scythe Stone. Example of Honiton Scythe Stone
Stone Group: Sedimentary
Stone Type: Sandstone
Era:   Mesozoic
Period:   Cretaceous
Epoch:   Lower
Geological Sub-Divisons:

Upper Greensand. The best stone was about 80 feet beneath the surface and four beds were favoured by the miners. They were locally known as 'fine vein', 'gutters' (most commonly used for scythe stones) 'bottom stone' and 'soft vein' (Fitton 1836: 236- 238).

General Colour Description:

Colour varies from grey to buff/brown.

Hand Specimen Description:

The Blackdown Greensand was extensively exploited for siliceous concretions in the vicinity of Blackborough Common. This was an irregularly cemented micaceous sandstone containing glauconite and sponge spicules and rare silicified shells, with traces of ripple marks and horizontal and vertical burrows (Devon County Council n.d.). These concretions were of "just the right lightweight porous composition and abrasive surface" to provide material for whetstones (Stanes 1993). Geologically this stone is described as a quartz-muscovite-tourmaline grit.

General Comments:

These whetstones were often known as 'Devonshire batts'.

Stone Identifiers: Fossiliferous,  Glauconitic,  Micaceous.
Reacts dilute to HCl? No