The Olynthus Mill, Its Origin, and Diffusion: Typology and Distribution


The article reviews previous research and present knowledge of the Olynthus mill and attempts to portray its history. The geographical distribution of the device and the regional diversity of subtypes are emphasized. The device varies in shape of hopper and upper stone, method of attachment of lever to upper stone, and in striation patterns. The Olynthus mill originated in the eastern Mediterranean and was diffused westward by Greek settlers but did not penetrate regions where the rotary hand mill already existed, for example, Spain and northern France. The meeting of the two techniques probably led to the development of the Pompeian donkey mill. The rotary hand mill was spread eastward by Roman legions, finally replacing the Olynthus mill in the east.


DOI: 10.3764/aja.107.1.1