The curious case of the buried whetstones

In recent years, archaeologists excavating the faint remnants of wooden buildings built in the late first century CE on the fringes of the Roman empire started noticing a very curious phenomenon.

Beneath the primary wooden support posts of buildings identified as houses they found buried whetstones.

The stone tools – essential for sharpening the sickles and scythes on which the community relied for gathering the harvest – were buried too often and too specifically to be the result of simple loss or discard. And they were found only in one small region – the lower Scheldt valley in Gallo-Roman province of Gallia Belgica, now comprising the Belgium’s East and West Flanders, and a bit of the Netherlands.

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