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Mystery Artefact
I think that it is a Sandstone whetstone which is very good at sharpening blades.
There speaks a man (?woman) who's not used whetstones much! If you're using a stone to sharpen a blade you use in with the blade at as shallow an angle to the blade as possible, leaving a smooth polished surface on the rock. If you're leaving grooves you're also winding up with a blade blunter than a blunt thing.....BAJR, is there any polishing around or within the grooves?

As to the chopping-board idea, you'd be off to the local blacksmith every 5 minutes to get your blade re-sharpened? Note that traditionally chopping boards are actually made of relaively soft non-abrasive materials (wood, then the more recent plastic ones) - the knife has always been the expensive item, the boards are cheap and sacrificial. Now if the stones were being used for chisel-cutting that would be a different matter, but BAJR's grooves don't look like chisel marks, unless the user was extraordinarily inept
All good stuff for me to grapple with..

The edges are nice and clean, and each martk is a deliberate single 'groove' therefore no multiple cuts, that I can see. I seem to be having trouble with the occam razor.

If it is not whetstone ( I agree with all Dino said) then the cuts mean something, whether it is on the stone itself OR on material that was on the stone. but, what would you have that you needed a stone - why not use a wooden board as this would better absorb the cut, without blunting the knife.

aaarg... ponder ponder... perhaps is was a tally stone?
If it were a chopping board I imagine a large heavy knife used in a cleaver fashion for butchery could leave similar marks. However, they would mostly be concentrated towards the middle of the faces of the stone, not at the edges.

There's a number of small "dots" among the scoring in the second image, are they indentations? If so I'd go with the leather-working idea, and those could be left by a punch.

The more I look at it the less convinced I get...especially the way most of the lines on the second image are parallel, with a few at an angle and one perpendicular -- not what you'd expect from normal wear from use...
Have you thought of sending it off with context information for specialist assessment? In my experience, worked stone is the material that us generalists have most trouble with.
Hosty, you say there are four now? have you looked at them side-by-side? could they all be from a once bigger stone? in which case a better idea of any possible pattern to the 'cuts' might be clearer.
Quote:If it is not whetstone ... then the cuts mean something
Why? Not sure I'm following the logic of that one.

Looking at the pics, the cuts run right across one - flat - surface of each stone. They don't appear concentrated in one place or at the edges. They don't get shallower toward the edges. Is it possible that all four stones are just fragments of something like flat-surfaced cobbling, laid to improve a yard or working area type of thing? The cuts could easily have been made in that type of soft stone, just by heavy objects being dragged over them. Would explain why they're apparently random, overlying each other and going in all directions.

The cuts appear random, so not sure how they would function as a tally.
threshing floor
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers

One of first ever thoughts was a threshold stone that had drag marks over it. I still kind like it.

None of the bits seem to fit, but then, the geology does not 'like' big flat stones - so composite threshold is possible.

And Dave, you are right about the specialist required. Just another on the todo list.


I am really grateful for all the help, and find it interesting that we can use our shared knowledge (and it must be numbered in the centuries ) and still show the importance of the specialist Smile

I have another mystery object! Any help would be appreciated.

Found in the Midlands (UK) in a small river. Around 10cm in length.

[Image: 6518319543_29cfb4d21d.jpg]
IMAG0107 by Indy_Proteus, on Flickr


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