Miscellaneous stone items by J.D. Richards; lithology and provenance of stone objects by G.D. Gaunt

The lithologies of the stone objects are based upon ‘hand-specimen' examination by hand lens and low-power microscope in reflected light.

Perforated weights

  1. Roughly shaped stone weight, with artificial perforation, 10-15mm in diameter; L.140, W.110, T.50mm, Wt.975g; COT93, 1004, sf6.
    Lithology: chalk, white, very fine grained, with appreciable traces of bioturbation. Chalk Group. Bioturbation slightly etched into surface, which suggests either burial in acidic deposits (unlikely at Cottam) or prolonged immersion in slightly acidic water.

    The Chalk Group encompasses the entire Chalk succession in England and it forms bedrock on both the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Wolds. It is referable to the Upper Cretaceous except for the thin basal 'Red Chalk', which is Lower Cretaceous.

  2. Fragment of perforated stone weight, with artificial hole, 10-15mm in diameter; COT93, 1003, sf18.
    Lithology: chalk, white, very fine grained. Chalk Group.

  3. Fragment of perforated stone weight, with artificial hole, 8-15mm in diameter; COT93, 1003, sf100.
    Lithology: chalk, white, very fine grained. Chalk Group.

  4. Fragment of perforated stone weight, with artificial hole, 6-19mm in diameter; COT95, unstratified, sf198.
    Lithology: chalk, white, very fine grained. Chalk Group.

    All the perforations have artificial striations along their lengths, which suggest that longitudinal 'gouging' was used in preference to rotary drilling (with the dangers of pressure fractures inherent in the latter), at least for widening a perforation in chalk. These weights are rather crude and probably too heavy to have functioned as loom weights; it is suggested that they may have been used as thatch weights.

Hones

  1. Fragment of hone, originally of rectangular section, both ends broken. L.64, W.45, T.19mm; COT93, 3002, sf17.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, fine grained with subangular to sub-rounded grains, fairly well sorted and fairly well compacted, with sparse large muscovite flakes. Upper Carboniferous or (more probably) Middle Jurassic. Several hones with a similar lithology have been found at Wharram Percy.

  2. Fragment of hone, originally of rectangular section, but with no original edges surviving. L.60, W.35, T.19mm; COT93, 1102, sf81.
    Lithology: sandstone, as no.4

  3. Fragment of hone, tapering section, one flat and one rounded surface. L.40, W.48, T.12mm; COT93, 1003, sf101.
    Lithology: sandstone, as no.4

  4. Fragment of hone, rectangular section, one end squared off, other roughly broken. L.75, W.50, T.15mm; C4/1.
    Lithology: sandstone, as no.4

  5. Fragment of hone, rectangular section, both ends broken, slightly tapering towards centre. L.55, W.42, T.16mm; C6/1.
    Lithology: sandstone, as no.4

  6. Fragment of hone, rectangular section, one end broken, other roughly squared off. L.77, W.52, T.35mm; C6/2.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish brown, fine grained (at the finer end of the fine-grained range) with subangular to (less commonly) sub-rounded grains, well sorted and fairly well compacted, with sparse minute muscovite flakes and traces of laminar bedding. Upper Carboniferous or (more probably) Middle Jurassic. Numerous hones with this lithology have been found at Wharram Percy.

  7. Fragment of hone, sub-rectangular section, with rounded edges, both ends broken, slightly tapering towards on end. L.42, W.32, T.15mm; G2/1.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish brown, fine to (mainly) medium grained with subangular to sub-rounded grains, moderately sorted and moderately compacted, with sparse muscovite including a few large flakes. Upper Carboniferous or (more probably) Middle Jurassic.

  8. Fragment of hone, sub-rectangular section, with smooth concave surface, both ends and one edge broken. L.102, W.62, T.30mm; COT95, 4004, sf44.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, fine grained, well sorted, fairly well compacted with traces of laminae. Middle Jurassic.

  9. Fragment of hone, ovoid cross-section, with rounded edges, broken at one end. L.63, W.36, T.20mm; COT95, unstratified, sf54.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish brown. Middle Jurassic. Ovoid cross-section and wear indicate purpose-shaped hone, but non-calcareous lithology precludes equivalence with typically ovoid cross-sectioned ‘Kentish Rag' hones, which in northern England appear to be mainly from Roman or derived Roman contexts.

  10. Fragment of ?hone, no evidence of usage. L.33, W.20, T.20mm; COT95, 4102, sf114.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish grey, fine grained, well sorted, fairly well compacted, with scattered muscovite. Probably Middle Jurassic.

  11. Fragment of ?hone, apparently partly smoke or soot-blackened. Flat surface and lithology more suggestive of hone than quern, but no evidence of usage. L.31, W.29, T.20mm; COT95, 4091, sf117.
    Lithology: sandstone, medium to dark brownish grey, fine to medium grained, moderately sorted, moderately compacted, with sparse muscovite. Upper Carboniferous or Middle Jurassic.

  12. Fragment of hone, smooth concave surfaces and grooves indicate hone and point-sharpening usage, although not a purpose-shaped hone. L.85, W.70, T.47mm; COT95, 4091, sf116.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, fine grained (at the finer end of the fine-grained range), well sorted, fairly well compacted, with traces of laminae. Middle Jurassic. The lithology is closely comparable to many well-shaped hones from Wharram Percy.

  13. Fragment of hone, with smooth concave surfaces; two ends broken L.75, W.45, T.40mm; COT95, 4025, sf126.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, medium grained, fairly well sorted but with traces of grain-size layering, moderately compacted, slightly calcareous. Middle or (less likely) Upper Jurassic.

  14. Fragment of hone, with smooth flat surface. L.30, W.23, T.23mm; COT95, 4124, sf133.
    Lithology: sandstone, as No.14, with traces of laminae.

  15. Fragment of ?hone, with one flat smooth surface (but with minute traces of striae), suggesting possible hone usage, although thin-bedded lithology would be suitable for roofing stone. L.67, W.42, T.11mm; COT95, 4091, sf137.
    Lithology: sandstone, medium brownish grey, fine grained, well sorted, well compacted, thin bedded, with scattered muscovite, possibly concentrated on bedding planes. Upper Carboniferous or Middle Jurassic.

  16. Fragment of ?hone, with one flat smooth surface, suggesting hone usage. L.36, W.25, T.13mm; COT95, 4148, sf141.
    Lithology: sandstone, medium to dark brownish grey, fine to medium grained, moderately sorted, moderately compacted, with sparse muscovite. Upper Carboniferous or Middle Jurassic.

  17. Fragment of ?hone, with one flat smooth surface, suggesting hone usage. L.21, W.19, T.18mm; COT95, 4091, sf203.
    Lithology: sandstone, as No.15

  18. Fragment of ?hone, with two flat smooth surfaces, suggesting hone usage. L.35, W.18, T.8mm; COT95, 4102, sf204.
    Lithology: sandstone, as No.15

    The nondescript sandstone lithology of the hones summarised above occurs sparingly in the Upper Carboniferous Millstone Grit of the Pennines, abundantly in the Upper Carboniferous Coal Measures of the Yorkshire-Derbyshire Coalfield, and abundantly also in the Middle Jurassic succession of north-eastern Yorkshire. The presence of similar hones at Wharram Percy, however, enhances the probability of Middle Jurassic provenance.

  19. Pendant hone, with square cross-section tapering towards a point, artificial hole, 3-4mm in diameter, at one end for suspension. L.40, W.9, T.9mm; H1/1.
    Lithology: schist, pale silvery grey, fine grained, quartz-muscovite, with thin quartz-rich layers. Norwegian Ragstone.

    Lithologically similar schist occurs in the Scottish highlands, but there is archaeological and radiometric-dating evidence (on the age of metamorphism) that the source of this type of schist hone is the Eidsborg area of Norway.

    Hones are common finds from the Middle and Late Saxon periods in England. At Fishergate, York, sandstone hones were used exclusively during the Anglian period, whilst imported schist hones were introduced in the tenth century (Rogers 1993, 1315). The introduction of these Norwegian stones into England has been linked to the Scandinavian invasion and settlement (Ellis 1969, 49). Ellis and Moore (1990, 869) suggest that the contemporaneous use of hones of both imported and local stones may reflect differing functions, the schist hones being used for delicate blades and craftsmen's tools, and the chunkier coarse-grained hones on agricultural, and other large-edged, tools. No.23 was clearly a personal item and the perforation indicates that it was meant to be carried.

Querns

  1. Multiple fragments of rotary quern; COT93, 1002, sf29.
    Lithology: lava, pale to medium grey, very fine grained, vesicular. Mayen Lava. Eifel.

  2. Fragment of quern. L.76, W.70, T.40mm; H2/1.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale grey, medium to (more commonly) coarse grained with subangular to (less commonly) sub-rounded grains, poorly sorted and poorly compacted, with sparse white and orange brown feldspar grains. Millstone Grit of Pennines.

  3. Fragment of quern. L.70, W.52, T.20mm; J2/1.
    Lithology: lava, pale to medium grey, very fine grained, vesicular but with fewer vesicles than normal (which suggests source near base of lava flow). Mayen Lava. Eifel.

  4. Fragment of quern. L.79, W.55, T.35mm; J3/1.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale brownish grey, otherwise as No.13.

  5. Fragment of quern. Two small artificial pecked depressions on one flat surface suggest quern usage. L.90, W.80, T.45mm; COT95, 4052, sf90.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale brownish grey, mainly medium grained (but with sparse coarse grains), fairly well sorted, moderately compacted, with one ?shell mould. Middle Jurassic, almost certainly Crinoid Grit.

  6. Fragment of ?quern. Slight heat reddening and fire blackening. L.80, W.55, T.45mm; COT95, 4052, sf93.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, fine grained, well sorted, fairly well compacted, with abundant minute voids. Middle or Upper Jurassic (and almost certainly from Birdsall Calcareous Grit in latter).

  7. Small fragments of quern; COT95, 4091, sf98.
    Lithology: lava, medium grey, very fine grained, vesicular, with two small black ?augite phenocrysts in one fragment. Mayen type.

  8. Fragment of ?quern. No evidence of usage, but Crinoid Grit known as source of querns. L.28, W.17, T.15mm; COT95, 4091, sf118.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish brown, fine to (mainly) medium grained (and with sparse coarse grains), moderately sorted, fairly well compacted. Middle Jurassic, probably from Crinoid Grit.

  9. Fragment of ?quern. No evidence of usage, but Crinoid Grit known as source of querns. L.23, W.20, T.14mm; COT95, 4052, sf201.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale yellowish brown, fine to (mainly) medium grained (and with sparse coarse grains), moderately sorted, fairly well compacted. Middle Jurassic, probably from Crinoid Grit.

Other stone items

  1. Fragment of dressed stone with rounded rim and a parallel rounded deep incised groove, possibly an architectural fragment. L.117, W.75, T.65mm; COT93, 1020, sf99.
    Lithology: sandstone, pale greyish brown, fine grained (at the finer end of the fine-grained range) with subangular to sub-rounded grains, well sorted and fairly well compacted, with abundant minute sub-rounded voids. Birdsall Calcareous Grit (part of the Upper Jurassic Corallian Group) from the Birdsall area. Numerous fragments with this lithology have been found at Wharram Percy (Milne and Richards 1992, 46).

  2. Roughly spherical ?ballista ball. D.45mm; D5/1.
    Lithology: uncertain, but appears to be a medium crystalline igneous rock consisting mainly of white feldspar and a dark mineral (?hornblende or augite) with sparse quartz, possibly within the microgranite-microdiorite range, although it is abnormally heavy even for these rock types. Near spherical shape suggests erratic source; no evidence of artificial shaping.

  3. ?'slate' pencil with triangular cross-section and artificially pointed ends. The cross-section shape and thickness make it too constant along its length to be a worn-down fragment of a Norwegian Ragstone hone, but its similar lithology suggests that Norwegian Ragstone schist from Eidsborg, which continued to make hones until the nineteenth century, may also have been used to make 'slate' pencils. L.36, W.5mm; E10/1.
    Lithology: schist, pale silvery grey, fine to very fine grained (i.e. almost phyllite), quartz-muscovite. Possibly Norwegian Ragstone, although other non-British and some Scottish highland sources are possible.

  4. ?'slate' pencil with circular cross-section and one artificially pointed end; other end broken. L.42, W.5mm.
    Lithology: phyllite or very fine-grained schist, medium grey, quartz-muscovite. Purple phyllite or abnormally fine-grained Norwegian Ragstone. L.42, D.5.5mm; COT95, unstratified, sf40.

    Nos. 35 and 36 are items of unknown function. Although their lithology is comparable to No.23, the pendant hone, they are much narrower and it is difficult to see how they might have been used as sharpening implements. The attribution ‘slate' pencil describes their appearance rather than function.

  5. Roughly rectangular stone slab, with one pointed end, possibly associated with human skull. L.240, W.100, T.20mm; COT93, 1003, sf31.
    Lithology: limestone, pale grey to pale yellowish brown (slightly heat-reddened on part of one surface), fine grained, sandy (with appreciable fine-grained quartz), and with minute pale brownish yellow mottling on one surface which suggests micro-bioturbation. Either one of the Middle Jurassic 'marine' sequences, or the Upper Jurassic Corallian Group, the nearest outcrops of both being in the Howardian Hills.

  6. Roughly rectangular stone, possibly associated with human skull. L.130, W.100 T.50mm; COT93, 1003, sf32.
    Lithology: chalk, white, very fine grained, with radiating compression fracture and thin dark styliolitic layer (i.e. natural solution layer) across middle. Chalk Group.

  7. Fragment of jet; COT95, 4102, sf199.
    Lithology: jet, poor quality, with ?Araucarian surface texture. Lower Jurassic. Traces of minute ?tooling marks.

  8. Fragment of jet; COT95, 4011, sf200.
    Lithology: jet, poor quality due to included ‘coaly' plant fragments. Lower Jurassic.

  9. Three stone fragments; COT95, 4242, sf168.
    Lithology: sandstone, fine grained, well sorted, well compacted; fragments of a flattish ferruginous sandstone concretion with a pale brownish grey, septarian-cracked, slightly calcareous outer layer and a black inner part. Upper Carboniferous or Middle Jurassic. Concretions of this type commonly contain siderite (iron carbonate), so it may have been partly roasted prior to iron production, producing the dark colour of its inner part.

  10. Stone fragment; COT95, 4102, sf205.
    Lithology: uncertain, dark brownish grey, fine to medium interlocking crystalline mass with high specific gravity, thinly weathered at surface to pale greyish brown. Too heavy for even an ultrabasic igneous rock, so almost certainly a metallic ore, conceivably cassiterite.

  11. Stone fragment; COT95, 4157, sf207. Lithology: uncertain, as No.42.

Clay objects

  1. ?Pottery lamp base COT93, 1004, sf7. Organic tempered fabric

  2. Pottery lamp base COT95, 4092, sf58. Pedestal base from a Crambeck grey ware beaker

  3. Spindle whorl COT93, K5; sherd of Knapton type ware re-used as spindle whorl

Building material

  1. Fragment of daub with grass impressions. COT93, 1003, sf112.

  2. Fragment of daub. COT93, 1077, sf41.

  3. Fragment of ?brick or roof tile. Ceramic, with one flat surface containing numerous quartz grains. COT95, 4178, sf206.