Roman whetstone production in northern Gaul (Belgium and northern France)
Journal of Lithic Studies
This paper focuses on the latest research on the production of Roman whetstones in northern Gaul. To date, little has been written about this specialised industry. However, three workshops producing whetstones were discovered recently in the north of Gaul in Buizingen (Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium), Nereth (Province of Liège, Belgium) and Le Châtelet-sur-Sormonne (Department of Ardennes, France). Production debris and rough-outs recovered at these sites allowed us to reconstruct the
... reconstruct the operational sequence of manufacture, from the choice of raw material to the finished product. Technological studies enabled us to determine the production stages and highlight the similarities and differences between the three study areas. Analyses of the materials reveal the use of fine-grained sedimentary and low-grade metamorphic rocks outcropping near the workshops. All these rocks are linked to the Caledonian inliers of Brabant-London, Stavelot-Venn, and Rocroi. The large amount of waste found at Le Châtelet-sur-Sormonne, far more than that recovered at Buizingen and Nereth, is indicative of the economic importance of this whetstone workshop. This importance is reflected in the fact that whetstones from Le Châtelet-sur-Sormonne are distributed over a large area throughout Belgium, France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie and Champagne-Ardenne regions), Germany, and the Netherlands. This paper presents the waste and rough-outs from the three production sites. It also defines rock types and their origins and offers insights into whetstone manufacturing processes and techniques.