1899.13.1

Corn-threshing board set with pieces of lava.

Place details: EUROPE. Spain / Canary Islands Gran Canaria. Cultural Group: European Spanish: Local Name: trillo Materials: Wood Plant / Lava Stone / ?. Processes: ?. Dimensions: Max L = 1750 mm Max W = 670 mm Field Collector: Unknown When Collected: By 1899 Other Owners: Cuthbert Edgar Peek PRM Source: Cuthbert Edgar Peek Acquired: Donated March 1899

KEYWORD: Threshing Tool / Agricultural Tool / CLASS: Agriculture and Horticulture / Tool / ?.

Publications history, trails & websites: Published in Cheetham, L. 1982. 'Threshing and Winnowing - an Ethnographic Study'. Antiquity Vol LVI No. 217, pp 127-130.



Research notes: This is a 'threshing sledge' (Latin tribulum) as used in various parts of the Mediterranean. They are often set with flint or metal teeth rather than lava. The sledge is used on a circular threshing floor. It is turned so that the stones are on the lower side of the board and a person sits or stands on the board to weigh it down. It is dragged around the threshing floor by mules or oxen tethered to a central post. This action separates the grain from the husk. The grain is subsequently winnowed by tossing into the air. [LM 4/1/2000]

This object was chosen to feature in a trail around the Pitt Rivers Museum in association with the Museum of English Rural Life on Farming The First 12,000 years (https://merl.reading.ac.uk/explore/online-exhibitions/farming12k/). It featured in a pamphlet with the caption; "After harvest, how do you separate grains from straw and chaff? This job, known as threshing, was traditionally done by trampling crops under foot, or using a flail or threshing sled. Threshing sleds are wooden boards with teeth of stone or metal that are drawn over the crop by animals. This nineteenth-century sled was used in the Canary Islands, Spain, and has teeth made from pieces of lava. In England, when more labour-intensive threshing processes gave way to machine power, people lost work and the changes, resulted in violent protests."[FB 5/1/2021]