Monday, June 06, 2011

Flour milling during ancient Egypt

One of Egypt’s indigenous grains, wheat, grown in flat fields, flourished in the country’s hot climate and , once the canals that supplied them with water had been constructed, required little care.

In order to harvest the grains, the ancient Egyptians made sickles out of sharpened flint and mounted them on wooden sticks. These were the perfect instruments for chopping down the tall grasses.

It was then dried in the sun, winnowed and sieved and finally milled. Grain was winnowed and soaked, the ground in a rehaaya.

After collection, several handfuls were placed on a stone quern with a gently curved surfaced for milling. A stones 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.

Excavations and the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptian indicate that the primitive milling implements were first wooden, then stone, and later on metal mortars, on which the grain was crushed by blows from pestles.

Ancient Egyptians then advanced to grinding the grain (grist) between two large flat stones (grooved or dressed to let the fine flour particles escape) , moving in opposite direction and driven by animal power.

Grist mills soon employed the power of running water to drive wheels.

After the grain was milled, it was transferred to baskets. A scribe counted and recorded the number of basket before they were transferred to the granary where the grain stored.
Flour milling during ancient Egypt