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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Roman stone quarries
Peter Burgess

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

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 15/09/2013 22:45:11
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Are there any properly identified Roman stone quarries in Britain? By "properly identified" I don't mean ones that everyone takes for granted as having Roman origins, but ones that have been archaeologically proven to be Roman?

I am currently recording the use of four large Reigate stone blocks found in a roman tile kiln. The blocks are well-preserved and have good tooling marks etc. They are roughly shaped much as I would expect if they had been cut from the quarry and delivered directly to the kiln site, without the intervention of a mason to make them look nice. It would be interesting to compare these blocks with others that have Roman origins.

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IP: 92.10.156.29 Edited: 15/09/2013 22:46:13 by Peter Burgess
Digit

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Joined: 29/07/2009
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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 15/09/2013 23:15:40
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I believe some of the quarries associated with Hadrian's Wall meet your criteria, although some (e.g. Crawfields), possibly all have seen later none-Roman use.

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Peter Burgess

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

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 15/09/2013 23:24:48
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Ah, yes, I suppose I should be a little more precise - it would really need to be a "soft" stone quarry, like oolitic limestone, or a sandstone, rather than "hard" stone, as I imagine the Wall quarries were!

At first glance, these blocks seem very similar to ones cut from medieval times onwards, but I suspect the use of a gouge in the manner of a cold chisel, as well as picks. As yet I have not been able to check for wedge bruises where the blocks would have been separated from the bed.

This is a great find we have, as up to now the earliest use of large Reigate stone blocks such as this was thought to be from the late Anglo-Saxon period.

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IP: 92.10.156.29 Edited: 15/09/2013 23:26:53 by Peter Burgess
Digit

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 15/09/2013 23:36:21
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I sort of expected that reaction, but went ahead anyway as I know the Hadrian's Wall quarries have been properly studied and have a vague memory of incompleted work being found in one of them. The Romans did tend to 'do things by numbers' so it may still be worth a guick look for the published reports.

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Peter Burgess

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 16/09/2013 08:04:33
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Of course - thanks.

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davetidza

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 16/09/2013 08:59:11
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Ian Thomas's draft assessment on the archaeology of Bulk Minerals (for The Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries in England (Mining and Quarrying)) has recently been put up on the NAMHO Website. It is, at present, minus a bibliography. IP: 62.49.28.79
TheBogieman

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 16/09/2013 10:11:24
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Hi Pete

From my recollection (from my school history master, many, many years ago!) there is a known Roman sandstone quarry in Chester - on the Handbridge side of the River Dee between the Old Dee Bridge and Grosvenor Bridge. Some of it is still visible but I think most has been filled in now.

Where the old city walls show the Roman walls - the bottom courses by the Roodee racecourse and several other places, it is the same Triassic red sandstone.

Hope that helps

Clive
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Peter Burgess

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 16/09/2013 10:38:25
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It's been suggested I should write something on my thoughts and observations on the Roman stone blocks and their origins, and I would like to add a wider perspective - hence my post. Unfortunately I would be reliant on published items and photos as I can't really justify travelling around the country to make personal observations. Anyway, it's encouraging that there are examples and if anyone can direct me to specific images or published information, that's all I really need. Smile

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TheBogieman

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 16/09/2013 13:52:00
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Some further thoughts... Mining rather than pure quarrying though. They may have used some of the stone they dug out for local building work at the following:- Dolaucothi Gold Mine in Carmarthenshire dates back to Roman times and the Great Orme and Parys Mountain copper mines in N Wales go back to Neolithic times and the archaeologist's are pretty certain that they were worked in Roman times too. Probably some of the tin mines in Cornwall as well unless it was derived purely by streaming (quite possibly) as it was very hard rock to mine since there was a flourishing trade in tin with the Phoenecians...

BFN

Clive
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Moorebooks

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Roman stone quarries
Posted: 17/09/2013 11:42:11
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Peter Burgess wrote:

Are there any properly identified Roman stone quarries in Britain? By "properly identified" I don't mean ones that everyone takes for granted as having Roman origins, but ones that have been archaeologically proven to be Roman?

I am currently recording the use of four large Reigate stone blocks found in a roman tile kiln. The blocks are well-preserved and have good tooling marks etc. They are roughly shaped much as I would expect if they had been cut from the quarry and delivered directly to the kiln site, without the intervention of a mason to make them look nice. It would be interesting to compare these blocks with others that have Roman origins.


Hi Pete

On a recent visit to Beer Caves and Quarries ( they are not natural caves ) they are proved to be Roman and very very extensive I was amazed as I had rather ignored them in the past
http://www.beerquarrycaves.co.uk/
Mike
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