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Pestle - In her role as a healer in the Outlander series, Claire Fraser makes frequent trips to the apothecary to buy medicines, but she also spends a lot of time gathering raw materials and growing medicinal plants so she can make some remedies herself. All of the plants and minerals that went into the healing concoctions needed processing though. In the days before the invention of the blender, that meant using a mortar and pestle — and a whole lot of human muscle — to transform big pieces of ingredients into the crushed, powdered, and pulverized drugs that were ready for mixing and eventual consumption. Painted image of an apothecary using a mortal and pestle:This oil painting depicts an 18th-century apothecary using a mortar and pestle to crush ingredients such as those shown packaged in vials (right), and sitting on a paper that could be used for wrapping (center front).  An Apothecary (man using pestle and mortar), unknown Spanish artist. Wellcome Library, London.; Photo image of a pestle:Brass Pestle, Date: ca. 1689-1711, Site Name: King’s Reach, Site Number: 18CV83/550, 666 - This double-sided brass pestle has blunt ends designed for crushing ingredients in a mortar, which is a sturdy cup-shaped receptacle that served as both a grinding surface and a container for the materials being processed. Mortar and pestle sets would have been essential tools of the colonial household since they were used for processing ingredients not only for medicine, but also for spices in cooking. Wooden mortars and pestles were probably most common, though they would not survive on most archaeological sites. Metal mortars and pestles were more durable, but even they did not last forever. This brass pestle probably ended up in the archaeological record because it broke in half. While the complete pestle offered a long grip and blunt end to make it easy for the user to apply pressure, pulverizing ingredients would have been much more challenging once the pestle broke in two. There might have been at least a short-lived attempt to make the broken pieces work though, because there is some wear on the ends created by the break. Photo image from the Starz Outlander's Season 2 Caption:No 18th-century apothecary’s shop would be complete without a mortar and pestle, and an example very similar to the pestle found at the King’s Reach site in Maryland can be seen on the counter between Claire and Monsieur Raymond in this screen capture from Outlander’s Season 2 on Starz.