Details of events, research and work in progess in the field of mining history and archaeology. These pages reflect the author's research interests and concentrate in detail on
But an increasing amount of space will be given to information relating to


What is mining history?

Mining history is the study of all aspects of past activity in the extractive industries.

It covers a wide range of products - from the precious metals and the non-ferrous metalliferous ores, eg. tin, copper and lead, through to coal, stone and salt.

It is not just a study of the history of individual mines or mining companies, although such studies can play an important part in our understanding of the subject. A wider view is required, considering all the influences, national and international, on the extractive industries and making comparisons with other mining fields. For this the mining historian must draw on the skills found in a number of disciplines. Economic history, mining law, political geography all have their part to play along with basic archaeological skills and at least a elementary understanding of the technologies involved in extraction and processing of the product.

The mining historian is often presented with conflicting evidence. For example the documentary evidence might suggest one thing whilst the archaeological field evidence clearly shows otherwise. An ability is needed to re-assess the evidence to establish the truth and, if necessary, cut across established views. In doing this the evidence of no one discipline should be pre-eminent. In many cases it must be accepted that there are two or more valid views of the situation.

Mining history is the analysis of the history and development of mining, its associated technology and social environment against the wider background of technological, economic and social history. There are, however, elements in this website which reflect a more local view of mining. They have a part to play as components in the wider jigsaw that is 'mining history.'

For more details

Move on to the Contents Page where you will find listed the links to various items. These range from lists of mine sites, to papers on the economic aspects of mining and the surviving archaeology of medieval pumping systems. In addition there will be links to an increasing number of pages pertaining to more general aspects of the study of mining history.



Peter Claughton / SHiPSS
Last modified 15 November 2003