Extraction Industries

Small scale extraction was in place by this period but dating evidence is still rare being restricted to ceramic sequences rather than absolute dating. Although excavations are still few in number, a number of sites have been investigated across a range of extractive industries. Excavations at Gibfield Park, Wigan (GM) uncovered evidence for ironstone and coal mining dating to 15th-16th centuries, including extraction pits and a regionally important pottery assemblage. During this period, ironstone was probably a more significant resource than coal as charcoal was still the main fuel source and the mine workings were located close to Atherton, a known centre of nail production (Connelly 2006).

Various types of stone were quarried for building materials along with limestone which was used for lime production. These numerous small quarries are difficult to date and may have been in production on and off over many decades. In landscape studies, they tend to be ascribed to the post medieval period, though many are likely earlier, as yet few studies have been undertaken to identify origins and patterns of use.

In the post medieval period, lead mining was one of the major industries of the upland areas of Cumbria and the Pennines this later activity obscures the possible earlier origins of many of the mines. The Farmers to Miners Landscape Partnership in Alton AONB examined the transition from a farming economy to the mining one of the post medieval period. Mapping the remains of the mines has revealed evidence for medieval activity although dating is difficult. (Oaky et al 2012) Survey and documentary research of the Ashnott lead mines (L) suggests that the mines were in use by the 16th century hinting at earlier origins (Went 2014).

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