Boreades wrote:Knowing as we do that Romans were adept at grabbing any technology of worth from megalithic regions and calling it their own, I wonder what you make of this?
"Such a water-powered hammer would have been moved regularly as each hollow became too deep, so producing the series of overlapping oval hollows in its surfaces."
Someone, probably on the applied epistemology site, mentioned that mines are found in mountains but never followed it up. The higher up the more water power and judging by the Welsh mines water power was exploited as a matter of course...The hammer head must have been of substantial size judging by the width of the hollows shown in the drawing. The stone is the only example so far discovered at the site, but is not unique, and Burnham refers to others of similar shape from Spain. As one side of the stone became worn, it was simply turned to reveal another side, so the block could be re-used several times. When found years after the Romans had left, in the Dark Ages, it gave rise to the legend of the five saints, who left the impression of their heads in the stone after being found asleep by the devil.
It's not clear how far the Romans' engineering projects were a continuation of their predecessors' work, but more likely they took over existing mines rather than set up new ones. Cornwall and west Devon had been inhabited by Basques, Iberians and Judeans as well as Celts [Judeans would appear to have been the production managers, since the remains of their blowing houses (smelting chambers) are still marked on maps as Jews' houses]. Interesting though about the saints' heads which seems to have flowed from the more common legends of holy wells and springs being established by saints founding monasteries and churches i.e. taking over the local water resources.
The article says evidence of deep mining exists on sites that are still being worked today, e.g. Rio Tinto. They followed the veins with shafts and tunnels underground, some of which still exist on the site. The remains of Roman dewatering machines were found during the 1880s and the 1920s when the Rio Tinto mines in Spain were being mined by opencast methods.
Huelva on the coast where the borders of southern Spain and Portugal meet is reminiscent of Plymouth on the coast of southern Britain; both towns were known to the Phoenicians and their harbours consist of offshore islands. Some of these islands have become resorts and as in Britain are no longer islands, such as Isla Cristina:Once a distinct island, it is now linked to the mainland and is surrounded by tidal estuaries.