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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Milling in ancient Egypt

Neolithic Egyptians developed bread from emmer, barky, and even a type of millet. The grain was stored in beehive-shape silos until needed and they ground the grain on flat stones called querns and then baked in and oven or in heated clay bread molds.

Both men and women assisted in making bread, with men performing many of the tasks. Women generally were the millers. Figures of women milling grain have been found in the tombs of the later Old Kingdom (c.2575-2510 BC) to early Middle Kingdom (c.2030-1640 BC).

Milling itself was a tedious process and the cause of many injuries. Several handfuls were place on a stone quern with a gently curve surface for milling. The upper surface is not perfectly smooth, but is kept somewhat roughed. A stone shaped like rolling pin with a curve to match the curvature of the grinding surface was rolled back and forth, grinding the grain into flour, which was caught in a container at one end of the quern.

The miller kneeled over on the ground, grinding on the wide saddle quern; then in the Middle Kingdom, the milling process was performed on workbenches. The rotary quern was not invented until about the fifth to third centuries BC, somewhere in the western Mediterranean.
Milling in ancient Egypt
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