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Comet Lode - Copa Hill

Palaeo-environmental work at Borth Bog, Ceredigion undertaken with Tim Mighall (University of Aberdeen)

A 7 metre deep peat core taken from the centre of the ombrotrophic (raised bog) at Borth (Cors Fochno) revealed an interesting palaeo-pollution history.

This showed evidence of small scale activity in the Bronze Age, and much clearer lead and copper peak in the earlier Iron Age- Early Roman period (the latter reflecting an enrichment ratio of up to 17000 ppm lead.)

The source of this lead seems to have been a smelting site close to Erglodd Roman fort, just to the South East of the bog. The latter has been excavated by Cambria Archaeology.

Peat coring within the uplands of the Cambrian mountains (Plynlimon) - looking for evidence of early mining (Metal Links Project 2012)

Coring near to the source of the River Severn on Plynlimon in Mid Wales was undertaken with funding from the RCAHM (Wales) led Metal Links Project in Feb-March 2012.

One focus of this will be to try and recognise the beginning of mining activities at the nearby Bronze Age copper mining site of Nantyriera, only 1-1.5km from the core location.

In 2011 an attempt was also made to re-locate the potential Bronze Age site at east of Nantyreira some 4KM to the Nantyricketts, within the valley of the river Severn.

Firstly, identified by O.T. Jones in 1921, this was revisited in the 1980's by the EMRG, but is now temporarily buried beneath clear-fell forest timber.

However, a single hammerstone was recovered from the site of the gorge some 10m upstream.

Smelting and bronze casting reconstructions have regularly been undertaken at public events by one of us (S.T.) since 2007.

This includes smelting and an alloying demonstration using simple open-hearth furnaces and the casting of flat axes in open moulds and dagggers in closed moulds, such as the EBA rivetted dagger in a bivalre soapstone mould at the University of Cambridge Festival of Ideas, in 2010.

Prehistoric gold mining, milling and gold recovery: experimental work with the Deutsches Bergbau Museum (Bochum) - Georgian National Museum Archaeological project at the Sakridissi gold mine, Georgia (July 2011)

 

This work was undertaken by Simon Timberlake and Brenda Craddock at the site of the 4th millennium B.C. gold mine at Sakridissi, it involved the reconstruction and use of hafted stone mining tools and firesetting to mine gold-bearing quartz-hematite veins.

This was followed by crushing, fine milling (on grindstones) and washing to recover microscopic grains of gold.

This was the same process it was believed was followed 5000-5500 years ago.

Smelting and bronze casting reconstruction

 

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Email: bc293@cam.ac.uk