Wednesday 14 October 2015

Ancient Roman Harvester (Vallus)

In Roman times a harvester, called the Gallic Vallus,  was developed
Described by the historian Pliny the Elder in 77 AD.   According to Pliny,
"on the vast estates in the provinces of Gaul very large frames fitted with teeth at the edge and carried on two wheels are driven through the corn by a donkey pushing from behind; the ears torn off fall into the frame."
There is another Version with an Ox pushing a similar looking device, and both types appear to have had either teeth or long prongs at the front to rip the corn heads off.

The conductor should be at the back of the frame and acts as a  counterweight and to guide the harvester to the right, to the left, up, down. A conpulsor works at the front,  pressing the ears of corn forward until they get stuck and ripped off  in the teeth of the  "comb".  

The Vallus is built from CD casing, the wheels are from the Airfix Waterloo French Artillery set.

The rake is scratchbuilt and the bod is from Linear-b´s Spartacus Uprising Defeat set.

A relief from Trier showing a gallic harvester. . How effective was it compared to a scythe? Tests with reconstructions Show that they do actually work and can clear a field faster than with  scythes with as much or as little wastage.