Grinding Grooves

Photo of a grinding groove

Aboriginal grinding groove sites are rock depressions of various sizes that were formed by the repeated movement of hard stone artefacts against a softer stone surface. This was done to either sharpen stone hatchet heads, stone wedges, hand held ‘axes’ and wooden artefacts with fire hardened points (such as digging sticks) or to grind secondary material (such as grass seeds). Grinding grooves were almost always located close to a source of water which was used to assist the grinding process.

Grinding grooves can be found throughout the ACT, most notably on an outcrop of ‘volcanic sandstone’ (a secondary deposition of sediments eroded after volcanic activity) in Tuggeranong. These outcrops are exposed on flat, slightly north sloping ground, at a medium altitude in relation to the surrounding terrain. The nearest water source is Tuggeranong Creek which is located approximately 250 metres to the north of the grooves. The grooves are cigar shaped and vary in length between 10 cm to 30 cm. Some of the grooves are wider and deeper and it is possible that these larger grooves were carved to hold water, either after rainfall or carried from the creek to wet the stone for grinding.

Photo of a grinding groove

Please respect Aboriginal heritage sites and objects. It is an offence to damage, disturb or destroy Aboriginal heritage places and objects.

The ACT Government is committed to improving the accessibility of web content. To provide feedback or request an accessible version of a document please contact us or phone 13 22 81.