In the ancient Roman world, foodstuffs were always on the move. If they weren't luxury items - fine wines, fashionable sauces, or live birds for the emperor's table - then they were the massive shipments of grain needed to feed the Roman army and the burgeoning population of the city of Rome. All these foods were transported from one end of the Roman empire to the other.
Roman grinding mill
Found in a villa near Pompeii, this mill was presented to the Kelsey Museum by the Michigan State Millers Association in 1921. The mill had been buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that also ended the life of the city of Pompeii in AD 79 - ironic, since the mill itself was carved out of volcanic stone. Donkeys, horses, or slaves would have turned the mill to grind grain into flour. Such a commitment of resources suggests that such mills would have been in use only in cities or large rural establishments. Poor or isolated people would have used hand mills, such as those excavated at Karanis.
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