A ‘muller’ is the top stone used to grind seeds on a sandstone grinding dish, and this example is probably less than 2000 years old.
The artefact was collected by the ‘mother of Australian archaeology’, Isobel McBryde. It is part of the Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology teaching collection, University of New England.
See the annotations for technological details about this stone tool.
Mullers occur in a range of morphologies which varied according to the the seed-grinding technique. This style of muller has two facets on the obverse face and a flat reverse face, and the form is common in arid regions of Australia. The stone was pushed away from the user, who applies their body weight against the edge of the muller with the heel of one or both hands, grinding the hard seeds between the top and bottom stones. The stone was rotated 180 degrees from time-to-time, and attrition created two distinct facets. This example was resharpened (re-roughened) by pecking the smooth surface with a hammerstone. Mullers were often used until very thin, eventually breaking, and muller fragments are common on Aboriginal campsites.