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Comet Lode - Copa Hill

 

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This website was made possible by a grant from the Cambrian Archaeology Association

The EMRG was commissioned by the Peak District National Park Authority to undertake archaeological work to try and identify and excavate prehistoric extraction sites on Ecton Hill located on the East side of the Manifold Valley in Staffordshire (2008-2009).

This was part of a larger investigation looking at mining on this hill funded by English Heritage.

At Stone Quarry (Dutchman) mine, the edge of an earlier opencast working was uncovered that had been backfilled during mining operations carried out in the late 17th century.

Bronze Age bone mining tools and stone tools were recovered from the later spoil from this site, but there were no in situ prehistoric mining deposits.

The radiocarbon dating of 12 bone tools from both these sites has suggested a period of working between 1800-1700 BC.

When modelled statistically, these dates suggested that Stone Quarry may have been worked on longer and prior to the Lumb, although this small scale extraction of just a few tons of one from each may only have lasted a matter of years, or a few decades each.

Some 500 metres to the south another site associated with stone tools was identified. This was located on the outcrop of a copper enriched dolomitic limestone bed worked by shallow opencuts and galleries known as “The Lumb.” One of these sites disturbed by later (Medieval?) miners was then excavated. This revealed the top of the worked malachite encrusted limestone with tool marks, fragments of bone tools, an antler point and several stone implements.

 

 

 

Map of Ecton Hill showing mineworkings and Bronze Age extraction sites.

Shallow Medieval - Postmedieval adit cut into base of opencast.

Top of excavated early opencast at Stone Quarry outcrop (2008).

The Lumb outcrop and Bronze Age extraction. sites (from Timberlake forthcoming and Craddock forthcoming)

Stone mining tools and flint thumbnail scraper recovered from the excavations.

Excavated Early Bronze Age opencut on The Lumb showing extraction hollows (2009)

Worked antler point found within Bronze Age mine sediments in Mine 1, The Lumb.

Radiocarbon calibrations of bone tools from Ecton excavations (John Meadows, EH)

Statistical model of duration of mining. (John Meadows, EH)