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Engine Vein

Members of the EMRG assisted with the survey and excavation work carried out here by Alderley Edge Landscape Project (Manchester Museum and the National Trust) between 1997 and 2000.

In 1874 William Boyd Dawkins reported on the discovery of numerous grooved hammer stones at Brynlow Levels on the Edge which he referred to as the tools of Bronze Age miners.

Later in 1878 the Rev. Sainter described a primitive oak shovel recovered from one of these pits.

The latter now resides within the collections of the Manchester Museum and has been radiocarbon dated to circa. 1750 BC.

This Bronze Age pit contained broken and carefully deposited stone tools, whilst close by to this, a 12 metre-deep square-cut Roman mining shaft (Pot Shaft) was found on the north side of the vein.

This connected with the workings in the earlier opencut, and within the base of the shaft itself were found a number of oak planks which date to the early first century.

The top of the shaft was first uncovered by the Derbyshire Caving Club in 1995 when they recovered a pot containing a hoard of 250 4th century AD bronze coins (The Pot Shaft Hoard) (Timberlake & Prag, 2005)

Side of prospecting pit with peck marks from use of stone tools (S. Timberlake)

Engine Vein opencast, Alderley Edge with bisected Early Bronze Age pit-workings along its northern side (S. Timberlake)

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

The Alderley Edge shovel. (By permission of the Manchester Museum)

The Alderley Edge Landscape Project undertook archaeological work on the Edge including the excavation of an Early Bronze Age prospecting pit discovered on the south side of Engine Vein in 1997.

A grooved cobble stone mining hammer recovered during excavations of Pot Shaft, Engine Vein (Manchester Museum AELP archive)

Roman Pot Shaft Excavation (1997-1998)

Section through excavated shaft showing  position of level and sump. (S. Timberlake and DCC).

Looking down this excavated Roman shaft showing its profile and twist in axis.

Excavation of Early Bronze Age Pit Working (EVBI) on south side of Engine vein (1997-98)

Table of radiocarbon dates from the Bronze Age mining levels. (S. Timberlake)

Fire setting evidence on the base of the emptied pit.

Layer of cobbles and broken stone mining tools placed within base of pit.

Partly excavated Bronze Age prospection or mining pit. (S. Timberlake and AELP Archive)

Photo by permission of the Manchester Museum

Mail: bc293@cam.ac.uk