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At Alderley Edge malachite and azurite (copper carbonate) nodules were collected from a shale band on Engine Vein, close to the site of Bronze Age mining.

These were then crushed and mixed with charcoal and dung and made up into balls that were dried, then smelted, within simple bowl furnaces using bellows or blowpipes.

The smelts carried out in 1998 were incomplete and the balls came out of the furnace intact, yet these were reduced to copper metal on the exterior and showed the process of metal prill formation inside (as seen here within x-ray photograph.)

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

(Photos : AELP archive)
Mail: bc293@cam.ac.uk
(Photos : P. Craddock, British Museum).