Friday, 1 April 2011

Did the Ancients mine tin underground in Cornwall?

It has always been thought that serious underground mining in Cornwall commenced in the 18th Century, after the invention of the steam engine, which was used to pump water from the mines.

Now recent discoveries in a shallow working at the old Wheal Emmet mine near Camborne suggest that underground mining for tin may have been performed centuries before.

Archaeologist Prof. Olivier Gy commented "this shallow old stope is unusually dry and has preserved ancient organic matter. Traces of dessicated pasty crust discarded by the miners have been carbon-dated to 230 A.D."

It is known that the Romans, who occupied Britain between 43 and 410 AD ventured into Cornwall for tin, which was found in streams and outcrops, but were they, or the indigenous Celts the first underground Cornish miners?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, archaeologists reckon their has been tin (and copper) mining in Cornwall since around 2000BC. This production only ceased in the 1990`s.
    Grant Cullen, Carbide Industries Ltd, UK


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