Not far from the road that the Romans called Ermine Street and we more prosaically call the A10 is a field strewn with rounded flint pebbles. These formed on a tropical beach 55 million years ago: Hertfordshire-by-the-Sea.
Above the field stands a copse. The farmer has not sought to bring it under the plough, and there is a good reason. The wood is pitted with Roman and Stone Age excavations. Our ancestors quarried hard patches of the beachrock, cemented by silica, at a time of exceptional global warming 55 million years ago. The Hertfordshire puddingstone was used to grind corn.
Grinding corn with puddingstone querns was more important to the survival in that area of our Stone Age and Roman ancestors than oil is to us today.… Seguir leyendo »