french version


Research on millstone quarries by the LARHRA

Millstone quarries is a privileged subject of research of the Rhône-Alpes Laboratory of Historical Research ( LARHRA )

The LARHRA conducts pluri-disciplinary research combining history and archaeology with geology, chemistry and paleo-anthropology with a goal to increase knowledge of millstone quarries - monuments to the history of work and daily life. Research is done in collaboration with several laboratories and local institutions ( MSH-Alpes , University of Grenoble I , CNAM , Faculty of medicine of Marseille I , CRPG of Nancy , Regional National Parks of the Chartreuse and of the Vercors, Preservation of Heritage of the Isère , etc) and in the framework of instruction offered at the University Pierre Mendès France of Grenoble ,

With this goal in mind the laboratory does the following : -drafts an inventory of the extraction sites of France and Europe -conducts archaeological excavations of the most interesting sites -gathers rock samples systematically for petro-graphical analyses -studies all types of records and archives that shed light on millstone quarries from the Middle Ages and the 19th century (financial records of châtellenies, notary public records, sale transactions of both terrestrial and fluvial transport tolls, harbor bookkeeping, drawings, surveys, judicial procedures, etc.).

Since 1998, 133 sites have been prospected in 30 different French departments and excavations have been carried out on two sites ( Quaix-en-Chartreuse and Ecouges ). More than 5000 archive registers have also been consulted in about 20 different departments.

The results of the research are transmitted by reports (to date 6), publications (1 book and 9 articles), the organisation of seminars and symposiums ( Grenoble 2005 ), public lectures (about 30 in presence of more than 2000 people) and websites like the one you are currently consulting.

This purely scientific approach is carried out with the constant concern on behalf of the LARHRA to assist the institutions and local officials to become better acquainted, and to protect and evaluate the sites under their responsibility. Certain cases reveal millstone quarries to be a rich heritage that can assist the development of certain areas in an enduring way.

Examples of recent projects :

2002  : inventory of the millstone quarries of the Natural Regional Park of Chartreuse (Isère)
2003  : inventory of the millstone quarries of the mountains of Bugey (Ain)
2004-2005  : contribution to the valorisation project of the millstone quarry of Dauphins at Mont-Saint-Martin (Isère)
2005  : archaeological excavations of the site of Ecouges (Isère) ; outfitted the same year by the General Council of Isère
2005  : organisation of the International Conference of Grenoble (« Millstone quarries : research, protection et valorisation of an European industrial heritage, Antiquity-21st century »)
2005  : analysis of a private collection of millstones and tools by groups of Seine-et-Marne
2005-2006  : inventory of the millstone quarries of the Natural Regional Park de Chartreuse (Savoie)
2006  : launch of the website « » and millstone quarry atlas (data base)
2006  : Mont-Saint-Martin : inauguration of a path to discover the millstone quarry of the Dauphins


Copyright © 2006 Larhra| Alain Belmont| Meuliè, M.S.H. Alpes-BP 47-38040 Grenoble Cedex 9|
Les partenaires de Meuliè
Fédération  Des Moulins de France | Fédération française des Associations de sauvegarde des moulins | Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum | MSH-Alpes| Moleriae : La Ferté-sous-Jouarre | The International Molinological Society|