Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Marko » 1:42 am

Boreades wrote:When you say the Phoenician model, do you mean trading ports or what?
Re being uncivilised i.e. without cities, why does it surprise you?

The tin trade was organised by Phoenician middlemen, but it seems odd to have no beating heart in all this frenzied activity.

Pit villages don't organise themselves, they are set up by an organisation for which you need a trading centre. Truro would fit the bill.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby hvered » 1:01 pm

Marko wrote: Truro would fit the bill.

Truro is thought to mean 'three rivers', quite plausibly in view of the location. There may be a Troy connection if it's a Phoenician entrepot as you suggest.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 5:43 pm

Mick Harper wrote:Why? I don't know of a mining area today that has cities. Pit villages, plenty.


And people don't usually build villages or cities on top of the mines. Unless they've forgotten the mines are there, or they live in Yorkshire.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 6:21 pm

We all know that lots of Megalithic Britain was concentrated in the South West. Cornwall, Devon and Wiltshire have been well thrashed over. Strangely, Somerset doesn't get much mention. But it was an important mining and industrial area in its own right, and also on two trade routes.

The Mendips had lots of lead and silver, clearly exploited by the Romans, But there is evidence of pre-Roman working, and Greek coins have been found in places like Charterhouse.
e.g.
http://www.pdmhs.com/PDFs/ScannedBullet ... 20Prel.pdf

Along with the suggestion that there was too much lead and the Romans regulated its production.

Then of course there are the Somerset coal mines, which were still being worked as recently as 1955.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 2:40 pm

West Somerset and North Devon had plenty of mines.

e.g. in the Brendon Hills: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendon_Hills
Also the East Lyn Valley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Lyn_Valley

There, we are told, "glacial erosion eroded one side of the valley resulting in the steep valley which is seen today".
Which must have been one amazing glacier, only being on one side of a valley! More likely the iron workers dug out that side only.

See: http://www.westsomersetmineralrailway.o ... ry/mining/
"A belt of country rich in mineral lodes particularly of iron extending from Morte Bay in north Devon".

Image

Morte Bay has some really weird rock formations and, just for Mick, rock pools as well.
See http://www.devon-holiday.com/information/mortehoe.htm

Image
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Mick Harper » 3:33 pm

This week's Time Team dug up a Roman pewter dish. Now pewter is ninety per cent tin and tin is always a very expensive metal. So why would people use pewter rather than bronze (or iron or whatever)?
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 4:41 pm

Mick Harper wrote:This week's Time Team dug up a Roman pewter dish. Now pewter is ninety per cent tin and tin is always a very expensive metal. So why would people use pewter rather than bronze (or iron or whatever)?


"Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pewter
i.e. it's softer than bronze, and easier to bash into whatever shape you want.

Also, maybe, by Roman times the available copper sources (e.g. Anglesey) were more remote and expensive to work than sources of lead (e.g. Somerset). Lead is more plentiful than tin, and the Romans used miles of lead for plumbing etc, even if it did poison them. Or is that another myth?
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby hvered » 8:26 pm

Looking up Time Team's blurb it says they were at Brancaster (Branodunum), an opportune crow name. It even has a tidal island on the other side of the salt marsh, opposite Brancaster Staithe.

Staithe is a nautical term, apparently from Norse

Definition of staithe
noun
(in the north and east of England) a landing stage for loading or unloading cargo boats.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Malmaison » 10:45 am

Boreades wrote:Also, maybe, by Roman times the available copper sources (e.g. Anglesey) were more remote and expensive to work than sources of lead (e.g. Somerset). Lead is more plentiful than tin, and the Romans used miles of lead for plumbing etc, even if it did poison them. Or is that another myth?

It's probable that lead was preferred to copper for piping since the metallic taste of copper is likely to make people think it's poisonous. Lead doesn't have any taste or smell.

Not unreasonably, symptoms of poisoning would no doubt be traced back to some other cause, but it may have a bearing on negative attitudes towards bathing!
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Marko » 9:55 am

hvered wrote:Looking up Time Team's blurb it says they were at Brancaster (Branodunum), an opportune crow name. It even has a tidal island on the other side of the salt marsh, opposite Brancaster Staithe.

Apparently Brancaster means 'crow foot' though place-name etymologies are shaky at best. Maybe there's also a connection with Boreades' Brendon Hills.

Salt marsh is also called brine ("origin unknown") but whether sea-crows inhabited Brancaster is not clear.
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