The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Alderley Edge Copper Mine

Ancient Mine / Quarry


The NMR, available via the MAGIC web site, describes the Alderley Edge Copper Mine:
The copper has been extracted at this location from the Bronze Age to the 19th century. The underlying sandstone is known as Engine Vein conglomerate.

The eastern half of the site is a steep-sided canyon formed by successive periods of opencast cutting down into the fault line and thereby forming an opencut about 15m deep. The floor of the trench has been capped with concrete to make it safer for the public and so the present floor is about 8m from the surface. The cutting of this deep trench has bisected several shallow pits which were formed by miners using stone hammers to extract the copper nodules. This shallow open pit working dates from the Bronze Age and creates characteristic peck marks in the rock face which may be compared with examples from Europe and the Near East. In addition, many broken and discarded stone axe-hammers have been found at and near the site over the last 100 years.

These are formed from hard river pebbles with a groove pecked around the centre to attach a handle. These are also comparable with examples from both Israel and Spain which are associated with Bronze Age workings. Evidence for Roman mining at ground level and below the surface has also been recorded at this site. A bisected shaft with an inclined access and rock-cut notches for a possible windlass mounting are visible on the northern side at SJ86077747.

These represent Roman or possibly medieval mine workings. In the canyon side below the Bronze Age surface workings there are rock faces representing hand-picked extraction dating from mining operations from the medieval period through to the early 18th century and also traces of cobalt and copper extraction by the blasting which was happening from 1857. Other rock-cut features are now hidden from view by the concrete cap in the floor of the trench.
The eight figure grid reference given is SJ86037748.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
21st December 2004ce

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