Wind, Water, Work

Ancient and Medieval Milling Technology


This book is the most comprehensive empirical study to date of the social and technical aspects of milling during the ancient and medieval periods. Drawing on the latest archaeological evidence and historical studies, the book examines the chronological development and technical details of handmills, beast mills, watermills and windmills from the first millennium BCE to c. 1500. It discusses the many and varied uses to which mills were turned in the civilisations of Rome, China, Islam and Europe, and the many types of mill that existed. The book also includes comparative regional studies of the social and economic significance of milling, and tackles several important historiographical issues, such as whether technological stagnation was a characteristic of late Antiquity, whether there was an "industrial revolution" in the European Middle Ages based on waterpower, and how contemporary studies in the social shaping of technology can shed light on the study of pre-modern technology. Originally published in hardcover


EUR €196.00USD $237.00

Biographical Note

Adam Lucas, MScSoc, MA (Hons), Ph.D. (2003) in History and Philosophy of Science, University of New South Wales, is a Researcher and Policy Analyst in the New South Wales Cabinet Office. His previous academic publications have been in the sociology of science and technology and the history of technology.

Table of contents

List if illustrations/ figures Figure of sources List of tables Acknowledgements Introduction Part One Agricultural Milling in Ancient and Medieval Societies 1. Milling Technology in the Ancient World 2. Milling Technology in the first millennium CE 3. Tide mills and windmills in the middle ages 4. The costs of construction and maintenance of medieval watermills and windmills 5. The role of monasteries in the development of milling in medieval England Part Two Industrial Milling in the Middle Ages 6. Was there an industrial revolution in the middle ages based on water-power? 7. Medieval European industrial mills 8. Medieval English industrial mills 9. The medieval Welsh fulling industry Conclusion 10. The social shaping of milling technology in the pre-modern period Appendices Bibliography Index


All those interested in the history of pre-modern technology, and particularly specialists in the history of science and technology, industrial archaeology, medieval and classical studies, and social and economic history.