Self-Publishing in a Nut-Shell: By Someone Who Cracked the Nut

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Please click here to read our updated Policy. Search Food Network UK. Step this way for some Midweek Perfect Pairings. Tropical Meringue Cake. Asian Turkey Salad. Easy Mince Pies. Christmas Bundt Cake. Ultimate Christmas Recipes. The Ultimate Bacon Macaroni Cheese. Creamy Bechamel Lasagne with Pesto. Penne ai Quattro Formaggi.

Baked Ziti. Creamy Pizza Macaroni and Cheese. Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells. What to Eat This Week. Ring cracks may develop around the point of impact without any quartz grains being dislodged. Quandong stones are described in the following section. To further evaluate them as a distinct category, their macroscopic features are then compared with those of other anvil stones and the occurrence of pits is examined across all implement categories in the collections.

We analyse depth and shape of pits and the weights of implements with pits. As a pilot study, we report on use-wear and residue analysis of four available quandong stones, a pestle, and a mortar all from the same area. The cobbles are hard, tough, brown quartzite, with a smooth, stream-rolled surface. On the obverse face, a mortar bowl is surrounded by a polished facet. The classic form of quandong stone is a flattish quartzite cobble with multiple large pits on one face [left], a small mortar bowl facet on the other [centre], and a flat faceted surface surrounding the mortar bowl facet [upper right].

The naturally smooth surfaces of these water rolled cobbles have been polished through handling and use [centre right]. Photographs by CP. The classic Quandong Stone has more than one pit on the upper surface and a well-defined mortar bowl on the lower. Note the distinct polished areas on both surfaces.

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Distinct polished areas are visible on both faces of the quandong stones. This is not the normal smooth surface of water-rolled cobbles, but a sheen imparted from considerable handling and use.

The even distribution of sheen on both faces argues against natural taphonomic processes and is not consistent with sand blasting or desert varnish. In addition, distinct highly polished facets are equally visible on both faces of many quandong stones. On the side with pits, polished areas are more pronounced around the rim of each pit; on the mortar side, the most developed polish zones occur on the worn down rims of the depressions.

While the interior of the symmetrical pits did not appear polished, the sides were even and smooth with no visible evidence of percussion fractures. The pits are approximately 8 mm deep and 30 mm across. Given the depth and even, symmetrical shape of these pits, their use for cracking quandongs was an obvious hypothesis. Visual inspection of the pits shows smooth and rounded quartz grains on the walls and base, and a rounded lip on the surface, not consistent with stone on stone percussion.

In addition, many of the pits are too deep and steep-sided to allow finger and thumb to hold a quartz pebble for fracturing. Once identified as a type, morphological variation became apparent. While most had one or more pits on one face and a mortar on the other, some mortars had a pit in the centre of the facet; in some, pits were in different stages of development; a few were made of quartzite blocks, not river cobbles, but all fell largely within the parameters identified above Fig 6 ; S1 Table.

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The variety of items that came to be classified as quandong stones maintains several features of tough material [quartzite], deep and smooth pits, polish and larger size. One item WWA; Fig 7 had been collected from a quandong grove under a tree. This had mortar facets on both faces with a pit in the centre of each.

A pestle WWB had been found alongside it. Specimen WWA collected from a quandong grove under a tree. This quandong stone has a mortar facet on each face with a pit in the centre of each. The variety of size and shape among items is partly a result of their different source materials.

Some of the smaller items are amorphous quartzite cobbles. The larger tend to come from slabs and could be classified as mortars. The classic items are in-between and tend to be river cobbles. Relative thickness plotted against relative area provides some further clarification of the variety Fig 8.

Although such a plot produces an auto-correlation, given that weight is more or less completely determined by length, width and thickness, the clustering along a linear trend clearly differentiates and is indicative of the overlap among the multi-purpose items. Relative thickness plotted against relative area.

The smaller, more rounded items are relatively thicker and cluster in the upper left. The larger, more typically mortar-like items are relatively thinner and cluster on the right. The regression line is calculated only for the items on the left, illustrating their relative similarity contrasted with the mortar-like items on the right. Labelled items are illustrated in other figures. Quandong stones clearly function as a base or anvil and need a stone hammer or some form of wooden mallet to complement them [ 5 , 13 , 40 , 41 ].

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Pits would also be visible in this percussion instrument [ 44 ]. Grinding the kernels on the second face would also require a pestle. Only one potential pair WWA and pestle WWB was seen, in the collections, but many items could serve the purpose. It is possible that these were quandong stones.


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A pit starts with percussion marks in an implement that develop into a shallow indentation and then deepen into a steep-sided hole. Pits across all implements in the present study vary in depth from 1—2 mm to 20 mm and are typically 20—30 mm in diameter with a rounded lip at the surface. They may lie within a mortar bowl facet or on the side of an axe.

They form part of the definition of the kulki [ 55], a portable multi-purpose mortar, pestle, hammer, nut cracker. Such a function makes sense, particularly in areas of abundant quartz pebbles, where an anvil platform may be necessary on account of the small size of the piece being flaked [ 11 ]. Anvils have also been associated with a range of other functions including breaking up woody seeds and nuts [ 44 ], smashing animal bones to obtain marrow, opening shellfish, or mixing pigments [ 41 ]. They functioned as a generalised kitchen implement. As a consequence, cobbles with pits, and pitted stones more generally, have been identified as a controversial, confusing tool type [ 3 ].

Recognising this, the following analysis moves beyond typological classification to analyse the distribution of anvil pits as a functional attribute across all implements in the MDB collections. Pits in stone implements in the MDB collections are fairly common— From a functional perspective, pits are an attribute of several different types of implement axes, mortars and pestles, hammers and quandong stones and contribute to understanding the multi-purpose nature of implements throughout the region.

The 1, items in the MDB collections can be broadly divided into ground stone implements made of soft sandstone, indurated sandstone, quartzite, and igneous rock. Pits do not occur in sandstone that risks breaking if used as an anvil; they are only found in quartzite and igneous stone of greater strength, hardness and toughness. None of these implements contained a pit and are therefore excluded from this study.

Pits were found across all types of hard stone implements Table 2. Pits are common among the axes, with a preference for pits in thicker axe bodies listed as blocksplitters —a sensible decision on such an expensive item. A distinction between tool types is also apparent in distributions of the number of pits per item.

The depth of pits is relevant to differentiating tool types and an assessment of their potential use Fig 9. While we might expect to find a pit in an object at any stage in its lifespan, the range, mean and maximum depths may be indicative of functional specificity. Among the axes, pits are shallow, with a mean of 2. Portable implements also have shallow pits with means between 3.

The distribution of nut diameter is normally distributed, as expected; while that of quandong stone pit depth varies more widely. This might be the result of the sample having younger and more developed pits, as well as differentiation by function, with an excess of deeper pits for nut cracking. Quandong nuts must sit proud of a pit in order to be cracked efficiently. The nut averages In order to protect the kernel from smashing, an ideal differential would be on the order of 3—6 mm. The differential in maximum depth of pit and nut diameter likely indicate a functional maximum to the pit.

The shape of quandong stone pits is also distinctive. They are consistently circular, rounded at their base, and symmetrical in profile. They have a smooth finish unlike many pits on other items which may be irregular and often show quartz grain fracturing. Many pits, particularly on classic forms, are surrounded by a flat rim that is typically smooth and polished.