Quernstone from Altenwalde – the other way round

During excavations of the NIhK, an early medieval pit near Altenwalde , City of Cuxhaven, revealed a complete quernstone from Rhenish basalt. Due to its fragile appearance in the acidic and sandy soil, it was decided to lift it en bloc and to transfer it to the restoration lab of the NIhK in Wilhelmshaven, in order to carry out further conservation steps in an appropriate environment. After gentle preparation of the surface, it showed severe traces of erosion, e.g. cracks and flakes. Further mechanical cleaning led to fast loss of surface substance, if the basalt stone was damp. Therefore, a very slow and controlled drying process was started, followed by soaking with a consolidation fluid. After hardening, a silicone coat was applied and strengthened with a gypsum outer layer in order to prevent any twisting. Now the moment had come to turn the grindstone gently over – success! The following exposure of the underside, which is presumably in better condition than the upper side, will hopefully reveal clearer traces of production techniques and usage of this particular grindstone.