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November 2015 - March 2016 208

Crystals of bright barytes bond to dark grey galena,

Tallow candlelight on felt caps to bright bulbs on hard hats,

From Mines Royal to motionless museum, a near half millennium has passed,

Still sheep graze on grass above this deep dark mine.

November 2015 - March 2016 190

White eyes in smudged faces emerge into the light

Ore dumped in grizzly hopper, drawn by belt

Worn through the layers to rings, contours of a mountain?

November 2015 - March 2016 196

Still silent wheel, no crushing here today

November 2015 - March 2016 193

Slack chain drive once turning the ritespeed

November 2015 - March 2016 192

No current flows today, drawn from the beck head

Held at height rushing down, turning water whirring turbines

November 2015 - March 2016 194

Rushing crushing ore falls through the funnel

November 2015 - March 2016 197

To rattling riddles, separating slate from mineral

Into the hollow drum of the ball mill.

November 2015 - March 2016 198

Balls of steel rumble tumble and grind, silent now,

November 2015 - March 2016 200

To flotation tanks of foaming minerals,

Skimmed, dried and gathered by the scavenger cells

November 2015 - March 2016 203

Skeletons of empty trucks

November 2015 - March 2016 207

Worn artefacts of hard labour, tagged.

November 2015 - March 2016 195

Notes: This tour was organised by the Lake District National Park, thanks to Joel Ormond for giving us a grand tour!November 2015 - March 2016 189

Coledale Mine was worked from Elizabethan times, by German miners employed by the Mines Royal, and finally ceased work in 1992 when it was gifted to the National Trust. The machinery was to be scrapped until it was realised that this was probably the last remaining example in Britain and so it was all brought back and reassembled! The processing mill must have been an extraordinary dusty and noisy place to work and serves a a tribute to the fortitude of the men who worked this site over the centuries. It latterly it was worked predominately for its Zinc and Barium bearing ores but was also mined for lead and silver in the past. The vagaries and fluctuating fortunes of mining meant that it eventually closed due to a roof fall which buried the loco and was the final straw. These mines were thrifty places and there was widespread recycling of metallic items and power provided by hydro-electric turbines latterly, indeed much of the machinery present still dates from the 1920’s.

November 2015 - March 2016 206

 

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A fine little secluded valley with some interesting archaeology.

Upland Pete

A bitterly cold surveying day in Bannisdale A bitterly cold surveying day in Bannisdale

Today was mostly spent shivering in the icy wind blowing through Bannisdale in the Lake District. I was instructing volunteers from the Lake District Archaeology Volunteer Network in the dark arts of surveying archaeological earthworks. The site in question was an enclosed hut circle settlement at Lamb Pasture that is scooped into the hillside on the north side of this small relatively isolated Lakeland valley. The site is a scheduled monument and as part of ongoing management and conservation works  the Lake District National Park Authority require detailed surveys (which the volunteers will in future undertake) of this and other similar vulnerable sites.

Lamb Pasture enclosed settlement in Bannisdale Lamb Pasture enclosed settlement in Bannisdale

Cold cold volunteers Cold cold volunteers

Surveying at Lamb Pasture enclosed settlement in Bannisdale Surveying at Lamb Pasture enclosed settlement in Bannisdale

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Thought provoking observations here

pondering the past

Unstan approachMoving among the monuments.

Passage directed, guided

Constrained

And ordered

Entrance guarded

As with knowledge.

Maes Howe entranceAn ordered landscape

In past as in present

Feet directed

To the important places

Gaze averted

From the spaces in-between.

OrkneyAncient and modern

Intertwined

Touching the past

But separated still

‘Stand back’ ‘Don’t go there’

‘Ancient monument that way’.

SignApproaching sacred space

On pilgrimage paths well trod

To stand

To gaze

To move among the monuments

And then to depart.

Ring of Brodgar distant view

All images were taken during two visits to the Orkney Islands last summer. For more information about Orkney itself and its amazing archaeology see http://www.orkneyjar.com/index.html or http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/heritage/worldheritage/world-heritage-sites-in-scotland/neolithic-orkney.htm

The archaeology on Orkney is truly amazing, but as I walked around the monuments last summer my thoughts turned to the control and directionality exercised by the way in which the monuments are set out and fenced in. My experience was very much directed and often the fences…

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Getting into the Groove (ed ware)?…

shelteringmemory

Literally. We may have found evidence of crushed human bone being mixed into the clay used to make Early Bronze Age pottery. While I was looking at the Moseley Height Bronze Age pottery last week in Towneley Hall Museum I saw something that I thought was very exciting. Large white specks in the body of the pot had a very bone-like appearance. I kept quiet about this in last week’s post because I hadn’t had chance to check it out properly, however…

SONY DSC

This is the surviving portion of Urn C. It is the bit around the rim and, as you can see, it has been fairly intensively restored since it was excavated in 1950. There are big sections where the shape has been reconstructed (or made up) using plaster of paris and brown paint. The rest of it is original Bronze Age ceramic but, to keep it from crumbling, it…

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The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Because a guy has to keep his chops sharp

Palaeoman

Living the dream of a prehistoric human

Archaeology and Heritage Digital Recording

Low cost recording technologies

The Stone Rows of Great Britain

Big, Small, Short, Tall, Have we got 'em all?

northshorepottery

studio pottery and ceramic sculpture by Jenny Mackenzie Ross

FragmeNTs

from the National Trust archaeology team in the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site

Duddon Dig

The survey and excavation of three longhouses in the Duddon Valley

Neil's Mountains

Exploring the mountains and wild places of Britain and Ireland

Archaeology Orkney

Blog for the University of The Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute. Please feel free to share any post.

Neolithic And Early Bronze Age Research Student Symposium

Annual Conference for Postgraduate Researchers

Stonehenge Neolithic Houses

An English Heritage experimental archaeology project to recreate houses from 2500 BC