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Chungará (Arica)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7356

Resumen

TIMBERLAK, Simon  y  CRADDOCK, Brenda. PREHISTORIC METAL MINING IN BRITAIN: THE STUDY OF COBBLE STONE MINING TOOLS BASED ON ARTEFACT STUDY, ETHNOGRAPHY AND EXPERIMENTATION. Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2013, vol.45, n.1, pp.33-59. ISSN 0717-7356.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-73562013000100002.

Archaeological fieldwork carried out by the Early Mines Research Group has led to the discovery of 11 Early Bronze Age (2,150-1,500 BC) copper mines; nine in Wales and two in England. Together with the workings on the Great Orme, some 12 Bronze Age mines have now been identified. The radiocarbon dates from these mines indicate small-scale mining/prospecting in Western Britain during the 2nd millennium BC, most sites being abandoned by the Middle Bronze Age (1,500-1,100 BC). The characteristic artefacts of Early Bronze Age metal mining are cobble stone mining tools. Examination of the wear pattern and modifications to these cobbles suggests the creation of ad hoc tool kits and the use of both hand-held and hafted implements. Over 90% show little or no evidence of modification (such as a pecked groove for hafting), yet from experimentation we know that many were probably used with handles. Discrimination in the collection of cobbles is suggested by consistency in size, shape, weight and lithology of the stones. In West Wales some cobbles were brought 25km inland to be used at these upland sites. This paper describes a method of recording, analysing and interpreting these tools which is universally relevant.

Palabras clave : Early Bronze Age; Great Britain; oxidised copper ores; mining tools; experimentation.

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