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Palaeo-environmental work at Borth Bog, Ceredigion undertaken with Tim Mighall (University of Aberdeen)

A 7 metre deep peat core taken from the centre of the ombrotrophic (raised bog) at Borth (Cors Fochno) revealed an interesting palaeo-pollution history.

This showed evidence of small scale activity in the Bronze Age, and a much clearer lead and copper peak in the earlier Iron Age- Early Roman period (the latter reflecting an enrichment of up to 17,000 ppm lead.)

The source of this lead seems to have been a smelting site close to Erglodd Roman fort, just to the South East of the bog. The latter site was excavated by Cambria Archaeology.

Peat coring within the uplands of the Cambrian mountains (Plynlimon) - looking for evidence of early mining (Metal Links Project 2012)

Coring near to the source of the River Severn on Plynlimon in Mid Wales was undertaken with the aid of the RCAHM (Wales) led Metal Links Project in Feb-March 2012.

One focus of this was to try and recognise the beginning of mining at the nearby prehistoric - modern site of Nantyreira.

Prehistoric gold mining, milling and gold recovery: experimental work with the Deutsches Bergbau Museum (Bochum) - Georgian National Museum Archaeological project at the Sakridisi gold mine, Georgia (July 2011)

This work was undertaken by Simon Timberlake and Brenda Craddock at the site of the 4th millennium B.C. gold mine at Sakridisi. It involved the reconstruction and use of hafted stone mining tools and fire setting to mine gold-bearing quartz-hematite veins.

This was followed by crushing, fine milling (on grindstones) and washing to recover microscopic grains of gold.

This was the same process we believe was followed 5000-5500 years ago.

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

Coring on the top of Plynlimon in February 2012 (Photo T. Mighall)
The core/log geochemical record (below) from Plynlimon reveals evidence of very minor
pollution during the prehistoric period, but more significant contamination from local
mining at the beginning of the Medieval Period.
Total core log of peat extracted from the source of the Severn coring site
(dept. of Earth Science University of Aberystwyth and T. Mighall)
Pan concrete of iron minerals with a head of fine gold-flakes on top (10-20 parts per million Au) 

(Photos courtesy of DBM Bochum).
The Kuru-Axes gold Mine at Sakdrisi, Georgia
Experimental fire setting of the quartz
-hematite veins and fireset rock
Grinding the quartz-hematite  to powder on a quern
Experimental mining using hefted stone hammer
and antler picks
Washing the powdered ore within a Kuru-Axian
water tank to concentrate the gold
Mail: bc293@cam.ac.uk