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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 19/01/2018 14:32:46
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When I drive past this ancient mining site (ca 5000 years old), I remind myself that it might be Britan's oldest mining location! It is interesting to think this might be where miners on this island first learnt basic mining engineering: how to move ground, how to support the roof, how to leave enough rock to keep it safe, the logistics of shifting rock from below ground to the surface, how to dispose of spoil - all things we take for granted.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cissbury-ring/features/neolithic-flint-mines-at-cissbury-ring
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trebor

Joined: 05/01/2018

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 20/01/2018 20:03:34
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When I visited here years ago, I did it without any formal guides or opinions.
I looked at site and mines, my interpretation of site was fort was built to protect mines, that they had a monopoly on quality tool grade flint.
However after following your link, I now know mine is older than fort by a substantial amount, blew my theory out of the water.
IP: 78.145.219.11
davetidza

Joined: 21/02/2010

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 20/01/2018 20:47:13
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If I were you I would try to visit Grimes Graves on Thetford Chase in Norfolk. There are a couple of hundred shafts around the NT interpretation centre. When I visited 7-8 years ago you could climb down a fixed iron ladder into the workings and crawl about the workings, which are-, if I remember correctly, on three separate flint seams. I believe another shaft has been excavated since then. There is a book about the excavations at Cissbury, which I can't find at the moment - the excavator was a local bank manager who was shot dead in a bank raid before he could write up his notes. There is also an account of Cissbury and other South Downs Neolithic mines in the fairly early PDMHS Bulletin - Mining before Powder. IP: 62.49.28.79
Peter Burgess

Joined: 01/07/2008
Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 20/01/2018 20:57:45
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Not sure if I am interested in modern mines. Grimes Graves might only be some 4000-ish years old.Big Grin IP: 209.93.26.134
trebor

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 20/01/2018 21:07:15
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I have visited most of ancient mines in UK.
I always try to put my own interpretation on sites.
Followed developement of mines on the Great Orme for years.
We are prepared to pay to go down mines that were probably a nightmare to work in, miners would think we were bonkers.
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mikehiggins

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Joined: 11/08/2008
Location: Doncaster

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 10:58:01
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The bank manager that davetidza refers to above was John Pull, who worked at the Durrington branch of Lloyds Bank and was shot dead on 10th November 1960 during an armed raid.

See the following for details of Neolithic flint mines:

"The Neoloithic Flint Mines of England" by Martin Barber, David Field and Peter Topping, published by English Heritage, 1999

"Flint Mines in Neolithic Britain" by Miles Russell, published by Tempus, 2000

"Rough Quarries, Rocks and Hills - John Pull and the Neolithic Flint Mines of Sussex" edited by Miles Russell and published by Oxbow Books, 2001

"Mining and Materiality - Neolithic Chalk Artefacts and their Depositional Contexts in Southern Britain" by Anne Teather, published by Archaeopress Archaeology , 2016
IP: 81.132.21.146
davetidza

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 11:34:52
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it's the Oxbow book I have somewhere (new glasses due next week so I should be able to find it!!!) As far as dating goes pre-1960 carbon dates if they were obtained by Pull would have been highly speculative. IP: 62.49.28.79
ttxela

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Joined: 04/09/2007
Location: Cambs

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 12:09:25
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trebor wrote:

When I visited here years ago, I did it without any formal guides or opinions.
I looked at site and mines, my interpretation of site was fort was built to protect mines, that they had a monopoly on quality tool grade flint.
However after following your link, I now know mine is older than fort by a substantial amount, blew my theory out of the water.


Turned out to be not quite what you fort then.


Sorry.......

I don't think you can crawl around at Grimes Graves any more as the galleries at the bottom of the shaft are all grilled.

--

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgKr0fxD6291bE7KQgIcOzw
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Peter Burgess

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Location: Merstham. Or is it Godstone ...... ?

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 13:45:01
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davetidza wrote:

it's the Oxbow book I have somewhere (new glasses due next week so I should be able to find it!!!) As far as dating goes pre-1960 carbon dates if they were obtained by Pull would have been highly speculative.
I might speculate that radiocarbon dating might have been done much more recently on artefacts removed from the excavation - possibly in Worthing museum? This is purely a guess, but if it hasn't been done, then it would be a wonderful thing to do in the future.
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mikehiggins

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 17:11:04
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There is a full set of calibrated radiocarbon dates for the West Sussex mines in the English Heritage book. For Cissbury, they cover 3030 to 3910 BC. The oldest are from Harrow Hill, 4500 to 3810 BC.

For Grimes Graves, see "Excavations at Grimes Graves, Norfolk 1972-1976, Fascicule 5 - Mining in the Deeper Mines" by Ian Longworth and Gillian Vardell, published by British Museum Press, 1996. This contains a long list of calibrated radiocarbon dates and at 95% probability most fall within the third millennium BC.
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davetidza

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 18:06:46
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thanks Mike for the information - has it come from your own library or is it on-line? IP: 62.49.28.79
mikehiggins

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 21/01/2018 19:10:03
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davetidza wrote:

thanks Mike for the information - has it come from your own library or is it on-line?

From my own library.
IP: 81.132.21.146
mikehiggins

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 15/04/2018 14:35:26
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By way of an update on this thread, some radiocarbon dates have recently been obtained from five antler picks excavated from a shaft in the 1950s at Long Down flint mine, West Sussex. These cluster between 4863+/-32 cal BP and 4544+/-32 cal BP. IP: 81.129.137.160
Tin Miner

Joined: 24/06/2007

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 16/04/2018 15:59:57
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Whilst looking at BNA (British Newspaper Archive) I came across the following - A Romance of Cissbury by Hadrian Allcroft.
Worthing Herald - Saturday 31st March 1923.

A very interesting article... worth reading...

Regards Tin Miner
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mikehiggins

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Cissbury Flint Mine, Sussex
Posted: 16/04/2018 20:30:45
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Yes, an interesting old article; thanks, Tin Miner, for posting the reference. IP: 81.129.137.160
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