Stones, people and oxen (?). Memories of work in some Slovene millstone quarries
The article entitled Stones, people and oxen (?), subtitled Memories of work in some Slovene millstone quarries, is a specific verbal conglomerate of the topography of known and discovered millstone quarries in Slovenia and an ethnological treatise on millstone makers; it addresses the duration and type of their activity, their mutual relations, skills, basic working techniques and tools, transport of millstones, communication with customers and sales. The treatise is based on a confrontation of rare bits of information from a variety of sources with scant memories of millstone makers in Slovenia and the stories of individuals who still had a chance to see them at work. (The article was written as an invited contribution and presented at an international colloquium in Grenoble (September 22–25, 2005) in Maison des Sciences de l’Homme/Alpes, under the title Les meulières. Recherche, protection et mise en valeur d’un patrimoine industriel européen (antiquité – XXIe s.). In Slovenia, where the rock layer below the soil largely consists of deposits, white millstone were usually made from softer and light-colour, white limestone conglomerates or conglomerates containing mainly limestone pebbles; black millstones were cut from harder and darker, browngrey flint conglomerates. The treatise describes the white millstone quarries in Jama, Struševo, and Polica (the mineral known under the name Sava gompholite (Nagelfl uh) is an unevenly hard Quaternary conglomerate with mainly grey limestone boulders and a varied sandy and marl binding; in the case of Polica perhaps an even older Tertiary conglomerate); the quarries of black millstones were in the villages of Podgrad (Permian carbonate conglomerate with a quartz-sandy binding) and Ortnek (Permian quartz conglomerate). The final binding of this article are a few words about the present condition of the treated quarries, the secondary use of millstones, memories and oblivion. In the relation between the latter, only two quarries – those in Podgrad near Ljubljana and in Polica near Naklo – have become cultivated heritage, either material or immaterial. In both places the memory of the quarries is in one or another way preserved by heritage-conscious individuals, and the memory of the former quarries and millstone makers has even found its way into literature.