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A simple granary
A bigger granary in Bydgoszcz, Poland on the Brda river.
Granary in Kashan, Iran
Former Granary in Zürich, Switzerland (1897)

A granary is a storehouse for threshed grain or animal feed. In ancient or primitive granaries, pottery is the most common use of storage in these buildings. Granaries are often built above the ground to keep the stored food from mice and other animals.

Contents

Early origins

From ancient times grain has been stored in bulk. The oldest granaries yet found date back to 9500 BC[1] and are located in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A settlements in the Jordan Valley. The first were located in places between other buildings. However beginning around 8500 BC, they were moved inside houses, and by 7500 BC storage occurred in special rooms.[1] The first granaries measured on the outside 3 X 3 m and had suspended floors that protected the grain from rodents and insects and provided air circulation.[1]

These granaries are followed by those in Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley from 6000 BC. The ancient Egyptians made a practice of preserving grain in years of plenty against years of scarcity. The climate of Egypt being very dry, grain could be stored in pits for a long time without sensible loss of quality. The silo pit, as it has been termed, has been a favorite way of storing grain from time immemorial in all oriental lands. In Turkey and Persia, usurers used to buy up wheat or barley when comparatively cheap, and store it in hidden pits against seasons of dearth. In Malta a relatively large stock of wheat was preserved in some hundreds of pits (silos) cut in the rock. A single silo stored from 60 to 80 tons of wheat, which, with proper precautions, kept in good condition for four years or more.

East Asia

Simple storage granaries raised up on four or more posts appeared in the Yangshao culture in China and after the onset of intensive agriculture in the Korean peninsula during the Mumun pottery period (c. 1000 B.C.) and in the Japanese archipelago during the Final Jōmon/Early Yayoi periods (c. 800 B.C.). In the archaeological vernacular of Northeast Asia, these features are lumped with those that may have also functioned as residences and together are called 'raised floor buildings'.

Modern

Towards the close of the 19th century, warehouses specially intended for holding grain began to multiply in Great Britain, but North America is the home of great granaries, known there as grain elevators. There are climatic difficulties in the way of storing grain in Great Britain on a large scale, but these difficulties have been largely overcome. To preserve grain in good condition it must be kept away as much as possible from moisture and heat. New grain when brought into a warehouse has a tendency to release moisture. Bacteria are more active in this condition and can heat the grain. If the heating is allowed to continue the quality of the grain suffers. An effectual remedy is to turn out the grain in layers, not too thick, on a floor, and to keep turning it over so as to aerate it thoroughly. Grain can thus be conditioned for storage in silos.

In Great Britain small granaries were built on mushroom shaped stumps called staddle stones. They were built of timber frame construction and often had slate roofs. Larger ones were similar to linhays, but with the upper floor enclosed. Access to the first floor was usually via stone staircase on the outside wall.[2]

See also

References

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

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