Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM
EARLY BRITISH AND ROMAN LEAD MINING AT CHARTERHOUSE, MENDIP, ENGLAND: A SPELEOTHEM RECORD
Variations in Pb over the past 5 ka in a speleothem from GB cave, close to Charterhouse, Mendip Hills, UK, were measured by laser ablation ICP-MS. Roman and post-Roman lead mining activities are well documented for this region. The speleothem record correlates well with the known historic record of lead mining in the district, the principal features of which include: the Roman lead mining peak; the Dark Ages cessation; gradual, episodic revival up to the late-16th century peak; the 17th century collapse and subsequent recovery; and the final short-lived burst at the end of the 19th century. This correlation supports the assumption that the pre-Roman lead record also derives from local mining. This record is the first example of quantifying human mining activity through trace element signature of a speleothem. The most important results to emerge from this research are: (i) the correlation of the GB speleothem Pb record with known historic mining activity in the area; (ii) the evidence of significant pre-Roman mining activity in the Charterhouse region; and (iii) the dating of this activity to three main peaks at 1800-1500 BC, 1100- 800 BC, and 350-0 BC. This record thus provides the first solid evidence of significant pre-Roman mining activity in the Charterhouse region, and the first solid dating of that activity.