Saturday morning - chair - Peter Claughton
09:30 Peter Claughton - introduction and housekeeping
10:15 John Barnatt - Using underground survey at historic mines.
11:30 Mateusz Gil - The Role of Mine Exploration in the Protection of the
Wieliczka Salt Mine
12:15 Jennifer Prothero Jones - [Under-]Ground-truthing historic mine
plans: case study of Cwmystyth Mines, North Cardiganshire, 1704-1912
Saturday afternoon - chair - Jennifer Prothero Jones
14:00 Alan Williams - A Bronze Age copper bonanza? The Great Orme mine in
14:45 Rob Vernon - Gwydyr Forest metal mines: A story within a story
15:30 - Tea/Coffee
16:00 David James - Understanding the geological controls of mining
history - the role of the informed mine explorer
16:45 Mike Statham - Recent Work at Cystanog lead Mine, Llangunnor,
Sunday morning - chair - TBA
09:30 Ed Waters - The 18th Century Lead Mines of Sandford Hill, Mendips
10:15 Tracy Elliott - A visual interpretation of Cornwall and Devon mining
11:30 Peter Burgess - How Old are the Chaldon Quarries?
12:15 Adam Russell - Setting the record straight – three Derbyshire case
studies for the use of underground exploration in advancing knowledge
Sunday afternoon - chair - TBA
14:00 Peter Jackson - Working with government organisations in the North
14:45 Chris Twigg - 3D modelling of Ironstone and Jet workings in
Cleveland (on a tight budget)
15:30 - Tea/Coffee
16:00 Lynn Willies - Firesetting: how it works, how it is done and what it
16:45 Peter Claughton - closing comments and questions
underground survey at historic mines.
mine workings can be used, and indeed should be, as a tool to aid
understanding abandoned mines. While historic sources can sometimes tell
us much, often other things go unsaid here. Often surviving documents such
as mine financial accounts and reports to shareholders have biases in what
they present, concentrating on ore or stone output and expensive equipment
installed. Detailed survey of accessible workings can often go a long way
to redress this biased picture, telling of day to day work and
unanticipated phases of working and equipment installed.
All too often surveys
done in recent decades by explorers only show what passages still exist;
if these are used to also show archaeological detail their usefulness
increases exponentially. This can include such things as: methods of
extraction employed; those passages that are directly linked with
extraction and others for access and equipment that were created to make
this possible; the character of waste left by miners; and where machinery
and other infrastructure had been installed. Sometimes simple things such
as recording which direction shotholes point can turn conventional
interpretations on their head. There is wide range of types of evidence to
consider, as summarised in the speaker’s recent book ‘The Archaeology of
Underground Mines and Quarries in England’ published by Historic England.
modern equipment such as a Disto X can make survey relatively quick and
easy, but there is a pitfall here; the speed of execution does not allow
for careful examination of details done systematically passage by passage
and giving thought as to what these tell us. All too often, when assessing
underground, it is only on a second or third visit that I spot vital
clues. It is important to return underground with the completed passage
survey to add those details that are vital to our understanding.
examination can show that specific parts of a working have been created
using different techniques at potentially different dates; identifying
phases of work is important. Episodes of undocumented extraction, not only
of ancient mining but at others in recent centuries, can show that mines
have had a much longer history than surviving documents would suggest.
Combining the surviving records with careful recording of the physical
remains can significantly increase our understanding.
How Old are the Chaldon
The Reigate stone quarries of East Surrey exploited a narrow outcrop of
the Upper Greensand immediately south of the North Downs, and were almost
exclusively developed as underground workings. The best preserved of the
workings currently accessible contains in excess of 17,000 metres of open
galleries. The extent of the workings at Chaldon provides ample
opportunity for determining the period of extraction using a variety of
methods: artefact finds, radiocarbon dating, and inscriptions, alongside
archival work. Long-thought to be largely medieval workings, the quarry is
now believed to have continued as a significant source of stone into the
late 17th century. Work continues to identify whether any areas
of the quarry survive that were active prior to 1500, as suggested by
archival evidence, that have not been disturbed by later activity.
visual interpretation of Cornwall and Devon mining
the nature of the industry, there are not many photographs of underground
mining in Cornwall and Devon. Over a few years, I have visited many mines
in the west country and the one thing that always makes me stop and think,
is that the old miners worked by candlelight, not being able to see what
we see today.
in the West country began in the Brozne Age, about 2150 B.C. The intrusion
of the granite into the surround sedimentary rocks, gave rise to the
metamorphism and mineralisation, which made Cornwall and Devon the most
important metal mining areas in Europe until the 20th century.
Originally the minerals were found in stream beds, but as these were
followed, underground mines started as early as the 16th
presentation shows what can be seen now underground in Cornwall and Devon
and through this, it can be seen how and why the mines were originally
worked and the geology and archaeology of our mining past.
Role of Mine Exploration in the Protection of the Wieliczka Salt Mine
Mateusz Gil, Marek Skubisz, Rafał Zadak
The Salt Mine in
Wieliczka has operated since the 13th century. Over the period of more
than 700 years, a huge labyrinth was constructed, including more than
2,300 chambers and about 245 km of galleries. The excavations are located
at 9 levels reaching a depth of 327 m. The extraction of rock salt in
Wieliczka using the shooting technique ended in 1964, and using the salt
leaching method in 1996. The structure changed its function. The
preservation of underground excavations became a priority, with particular
attention paid to historical values of former chambers, galleries and
mining equipment. Part of the excavations has been designated for museum
and tourism, as well as treatment and rehabilitation purposes.
The Cracow Saltworks
Museum in Wieliczka, established in 1951, plays an important role in
research into and protection of the Wieliczka mine. A museum and mining
team was formed in 1975 to compile an inventory of excavations in the
Wieliczka mine. Scientific guidelines for inventory-taking were developed
and criteria for the assessment of a mining excavation as a historical
object were established. Systematic documentation of underground
structures was initiated in cooperation with the management and technical
inspection staff. The source materials collected and specialist assistance
provided by the Museum resulted in entries of the Wieliczka mine in the
list of historical objects (1976), the UNESCO World Heritage List (1978)
and recognition of the mine as an object of historic importance by the
President of the Republic of Poland (1994). The entry in the UNESCO World
Heritage List was supplemented in 2013 with the Bochnia salt mine and the
Saltworks Castle in Wieliczka (since then the “Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal
Salt Mines”). Compiling of the inventory of historical excavations was
resumed in 2017 with the aim of observing and recording changes that took
place over recent decades, updating descriptions and producing new
photographic and video documentation, using the advancements of
implementation of mining and conservatory projects in the most valuable
excavations in both historical mines have been preceded since the 1990s by
historical and conservatory studies carried out by the Museum. The
position of Conservator of Historical Objects in the Cracow Saltworks
established in 2017, together with specialist and organizational support
provided by Museum’s staff, ensures professional and continual supervision
over all projects carried out in the underground zones of the historical
mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia.
Studia i Materiały do
Dziejów Żup Solnych w Polsce, rocznik MŻKW (Studies and Materials to the
History of Saltworks in Poland, CSMW annals), 1965-2017, vol. I – XXXII
krakowskich (The History of Cracow Saltworks), Wieliczka 1988
żupy solnej (The History of Wieliczka Saltworks), Wieliczka 2015
50 lat Muzeum Żup
Krakowskich Wieliczka (50th Anniversary of Cracow Saltworks Museum in
Wieliczka), Wieliczka 2001
government organisations in the North Pennines - An account of some
experiences of working with government and contractors on metal mine sites
and applying that experience to future relationships.
The North Pennines
Orefield has a network of abandoned mine workings which are actively
drained by a network of adit levels. The adit network is mainly
controlled by the pattern of the major orebodies and often connects vein
workings running below adjoining valleys and higher ground. The
consequent drainage pattern depends upon the historic workings, which were
mainly abandoned in the 19th and early 20th
centuries. Abandonment plans may show main networks but do not show
drainage patterns. Explorers, historians and archaeologists have knowledge
of the drainage flows, which has been shared with consultants and project
managers. Underground archaeology can have unintended consequences when
excavations cause diversion of water flows which may impact upon
Environment Agency proposals for water treatment plants.
Agency Metal Mines project has a strategy for adit outflow treatment
sites, which have used data supplied by mining societies. The agency has
also completed work on several mine dumps in order to prevent the
transportation of silt into rivers. Work on dumps may include SAMs and
important historic sites. This work might have had major adverse impacts
on some of these sites if mining societies had failed to provide
information about the relative importance of some sites.
This paper explores
the history of some of these projects and makes suggestions about how
information and knowledge might be shared in more effective ways.
Understanding the geological controls of mining history - the role of the
informed mine explorer
history is determined by the geological nature of the subsurface resource,
the social need for its use and the technology available for its
extraction. It is argued that a correct understanding of the geology is
commonly understressed in the mining history literature and that
geological re-evaluation of old mines not only constitutes an essential
determinant to understanding their success or failure but can offer great
analogue value in planning future exploration strategies.
of stasis for commercial investment in mineral exploration, research by
the amateur geologist / informed mine explorer may be the only way to
maintain access and sustain the collection of pertinent data in sites that
inevitably continue to degrade. Guidelines are offered for observation and
recording of such data and examples of incomplete and conflicting
geological understanding resolved by mine exploration are offered from
historic mine plans: case study of Cwmystyth Mines, North Cardiganshire,
historic mine plans and longitudinal and transverse lode and stope
sections from 1704 to 1912 of the Cwmystwyth lead-silver-zinc-copper
mines, North Cardiganshire. A range of case studies of workings omitted,
mis-located, distorted and shown (proposed?) on plans but not executed,
analysed to suggest possible causes of these discrepancies coupled with a
range of rationales for the compilation of plans, variously as working
documents, abandonment records, or promotional tools. It was concluded
that 19th century non-ferrous mine plans are generally highly
reliable with regard to what they record, but that 19th century
longitudinal stope sections can be somewhat generalised. The limitations
of plans and sections in recording workings significantly pre-dating their
compilation is highlighted. The benefits of combining historic plan data
with underground exploration is emphasised, including the necessity of
exploiting the full range of modern speleological and caving techniques to
maximise access for data gathering. Limited comparisons with plans of
other mines, including coal mines, are included. The conference
presentation will be profusely illustrated with both historic and current
plan extracts, and underground images.
Setting the record
straight – three Derbyshire case studies for the use of underground
exploration in advancing knowledge about mines.
Where access to underground workings is possible at mining sites, it can
provide new insights into the history of the site in a number of ways. It
can provide information to correct existing interpretations of the
historical record, and can enable identification of features referred to
in documentary sources that would otherwise not be possible. This paper
looks at three sites in the Peak District where recent exploration has
changed or expanded the state of knowledge about the site. At Field Grove
Mine the information derived from underground exploration has enabled a
complete reassessment of the existing published record. Secondly, at the
Calver Peak Mines, it has proved possible through investigation of the
accessible workings to exactly place the locations of some early 20th
century underground photographs. Thirdly, the re-opening and exploration
of Longcliffe Mine has provided information through which features
referred to in 18th century reckonings have been identified, and also
found areas of possible earlier working.
Recent Work at
Cystanog lead Mine, Llangunnor, Carmarthenshire
The talk will present
a summary of the results of the work of a small group of enthusiasts
spearheaded by Phil Knight who have over the last ten years opened up,
photographed and surveyed this mine.
3D modelling of
Ironstone and Jet workings in Cleveland (on a tight budget)
which took place in Cleveland between 1848 and 1964, generated an
impressive paper trail of mine abandonment plans and company records. In
sharp contrast, the death of Prince Albert in the early 1860s triggered an
explosion in jet mining, which generated no plans and virtually no written
records. The Heritage Lottery Funded 'Our Industrial Heartland' project
investigated different methods to generate 3D models of these two sets of
geologically adjacent workings. In the ironstone via geo-referencing of
historic plans in GIS software, whilst in the jet workings, local mine and
caving clubs used a DistoX paperless surveying system and Survex software.
All this new data was combined with LIDAR data and Google Earth imagery to
create 3D representations of the two sets of workings and visualise how
they relate to each other and also how they relate to the new Sirius
Minerals Transfer Tunnel currently being driven under the area.
metal mines: A story within a story
In 1970 when I first
became interested in the Gwydyr Forest mines there was next to nothing
written about them. Even that most lucid of sources 'The Special Mineral
Resources Memoir' published by the Geological Survey offered scant detail.
fortunate that the last operators of Parc mine were not 'miners' but
scientists, who used the processing mill at Parc to experiment on the
automation of ore dressing techniques. In a similar manner, the mine
became an underground laboratory for the Bidston Observatory to study the
gravitational influence of the moon on the earths crust. The mine
therefore was relatively untouched after abandonment.
location of any mine abandonment plan was unknown, but eventually an
incomplete plan did turn up in a paper on diamond drilling. Prior to Parc
being worked in the 1950s, a series of inclined boreholes had proved the
main vein, the Principal Lode, as a viable proposition. A second brief
paper provided the names of some of the other veins in the vicinity. So
with that information to hand, and with the help of others, we conducted a
simple tape and compass survey of the No.3 level. This survey ultimately
provided the 'backbone' for all later information.
Eventually other mine plans recording 19th century working came to light,
and they were duly added to the general plan of the Principal Lode
workings. A complete picture started to emerge.
I met John Bennett, and we pooled our information about Gwydyr. We soon
realised we had enough to publish a series of books, in a similar format
to those produced by David Bick for Central Wales. I concentrated on the
technical side; mine exploration, fieldwork, the later workings and mine
plans. John concerned himself with the early history of the Gwydyr and the
various individuals and companies associated with the mining operation.
Eventually we started to put 'skin on the bones' (bones = mine plans) and
the 'Mines of the Gwydyr Forest - parts 1 to 7' were produced.
involvement with Gwydyr continued after their publication. For a number of
years I had a historical input into 'mine reclamation' schemes initiated
by the landowners, and others. I last went underground in Parc in 1989
when I took a mining engineering consultant to examine the blockage in the
Parc No.3. It is located at a point where the Gorlan lode crosses, and
displaces, the Principal Lode. During the winter months it had been noted
that a significant head of water was building up behind the blockage. If
the blockage had failed then the sudden release of water could have had
disastrous consequences in the Conway Valley. The throttle dam in the No.3
level was the solution. Thankfully using the various mine plans and
sections I had produced over the years, I was able to demonstrate that any
solution to the problem should have the potential to allow access.
shows how mine plan information, verified by underground visits,
particularly on the Principal Lode, were plotted onto a composite plan,
which had a variety of uses, but mainly to explain mine connections, and
drainage patterns to those unfamiliar with the area, and mining, e.g.
Local Authorities and Consultants.
[I would like to
dedicate this presentation to my friend and co-author John Bennett who
died in tragic circumstance in March 2019]
18th Century Lead
Mines of Sandford Hill, Mendips
For the last 15 years
a group of cave explorers from the Mendip Caving Group have been exploring
the 18th Century Lead Mines of Sandford Hill in Somerset.
These explorations have included the scaling of shafts, digging upwards
through the “Old Man’s” backfill and the emptying of a 25m deep surface
shaft blocked in the 1970s. This work has regained access to extensive
workings and natural caves, a large proportion of which are previously
unrecorded to mine and cave explorers. They also provide an interesting
insight into the methods and practices used by Mendip miners in the
1700s. There are also many challenges still remaining, including the hunt
for the mythical “Gulf” of Sandford Hill and realisation of a connection
between the mines at the top and bottom of the hill.
Bronze Age copper bonanza? The Great Orme mine in North Wales
Alan Williams, University of Liverpool.
The Great Orme mine
in North Wales is one of the largest Bronze Age copper mines in Europe but
its size has always been attributed to small-scale part-time working over
nearly a millennium based on claims that it only produced an unimportant
low impurity type of copper. However, an extensive new interdisciplinary
research project using chemical and lead isotope analyses has shown it
produced a distinctive metal that dominated Britain from c.1600 to 1400 BC
with metal reaching from Brittany to Sweden. This suggests that the Great
Orme mine produced Britain’s first mining boom and was more closely
integrated into European Bronze Age trading networks than previously
how it works, how it is done and what it looks like.
Firesetting is very old, widespread and often sophisticated technology
used on both small and large-scale mines. The oldest example to be
presentedbeing from 2800 years BC. It was still in use for quarrying and
well-sinking in India recently, and in mining in Africa no more than a few
years ago, and in Norway a substantial level was driven somewhat over a
century ago. It can tacle the hardest rock, which yield for several quite
different reasons, by splitting, spalling or crumbling. It can be used to
sink and rise vertically or at an angle, or can follow an excavation
laterally. Many fireset workings show characteristic forms, not
dissimilar to many vadose solutional cavities, but weakening of rock
adjacent to the main effects makes it more susceptible to hammering or
picking techniques, disguising its use. Throwing water or even vinegar on
the hot rock is unnecessary and probably undesirable for safety reasons
Using underground survey at historic mines.
How Old are the Chaldon Quarries?
- A visual interpretation of Cornwall and Devon mining
Mateusz Gil, Marek Skubisz, and Rafał Zadak
- The Role of Mine Exploration in the Protection of the Wieliczka Salt
Working with government organisations in the North Pennines - An account
of some experiences of working with government and contractors on metal
mine sites and applying that experience to future relationships.
Understanding the geological controls of mining history - the role of the
informed mine explorer
Jennifer Protheroe Jones
[Under-]Ground-truthing historic mine plans: case study of Cwmystyth
Mines, North Cardiganshire, 1704-1912
Setting the record straight – three Derbyshire case studies for the use of
underground exploration in advancing knowledge about mines.
Gwydyr Forest metal mines: A story within a story
18th Century Lead Mines of Sandford Hill, Mendips
R Alan Williams
- A Bronze Age copper bonanza? The Great Orme mine in North Wales
Firesetting: how it works, how it is done and what it looks like.