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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Miner's graffiti - dates
SimonRL

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 10/05/2011 22:16:26
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This photo of RF's popped up in the random image on the home page...



(click image to open full size image in new window)

There are some great photos of miner's graffiti uploaded to the site, but what's the earliest datest one that anybody has seen?

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Peter Burgess

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 10/05/2011 22:23:31
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1609

I just thought I'd set the bar nice and high, from the start!



(click image to open full size image in new window)



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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
IP: 92.20.54.181 Edited: 10/05/2011 22:25:38 by Peter Burgess
viewer

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 10/05/2011 22:36:31
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yep that'll take some beating.

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owd git

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 10/05/2011 22:47:19
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see ref Spinney level Via Gellia off matlock. Anglo Saxon mine from the four letter inscriptions near the end PDHMS Vol 4 Mo 5 p.382 will dig out a piccie!
Very Owd Git. Thumb Up
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AR

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 08:40:52
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I believe there's a 16th century date in one of the mined portions of Brightgate cave.

The nickname of Anglo-Saxon mine for Spinney Level refers to the "earthiness" of the words used in the inscription, not their age.....

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Peter Burgess

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 09:11:28
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AR wrote:

I believe there's a 16th century date in one of the mined portions of Brightgate cave.
I would be interested to know whether that is written using roman or arabic numerals.

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derrickman

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 14:25:10
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I'd say that would entirely understandable considering the nature of the entrance....

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staffordshirechina

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 19:36:35
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Does the graffiti in the underground barrows in Orkney count?
They were by Vikings and done in Runes.
8th or 9th century I think. Adam will correct me?
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agricola

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 19:53:20
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I'll try and dig (no pun !) some images of the dates in Old Millclose along with some interesting graffiti which you may like Smartass IP: 86.133.210.149
AR

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 20:33:19
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staffordshirechina wrote:

Does the graffiti in the underground barrows in Orkney count?
They were by Vikings and done in Runes.
8th or 9th century I think. Adam will correct me?


A bit later, 11th-12th century if I remember rightly - I think they qualify more as tourist graffiti (with the possible exception of one writer who boasted of having been in there with a lady friend....) rather than miner's inscriptions though!

I've dug out details on the Brightgate date, it's smoked on the roof and is B D 1538 - there was certainly activity in the area around then so it could be genuine, unfortunately I don't have the spare cash to get a sample of the soot whacked into an AMS for confirmation of the age! There are also 18th century smoked dates in the same system, from between 1742 and 1798

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owd git

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 20:56:39
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It is geographically close to a 1709 inscription but whereabouts restricted.at request of landowner and original diggers.
Hi Adam is that upper right before you desend?If so I'll nip and photo before the w/e
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Peter Burgess

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 21:58:41
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AR wrote:

I've dug out details on the Brightgate date, it's smoked on the roof and is B D 1538 - there was certainly activity in the area around then so it could be genuine, unfortunately I don't have the spare cash to get a sample of the soot whacked into an AMS for confirmation of the age! There are also 18th century smoked dates in the same system, from between 1742 and 1798


1538 - if in arabic numerals, might be a bit doubtful. While there isn't a huge amount on the internet that I have found about date inscriptions, and whether they are in arabic or roman, I can't find arabic numbers used in graffiti or general literature much before the later part of the 16th century. However, I have seen arabic dates on manuscripts from Henry VIII's time which is about the 1530s or so. What matters is when did arabic numerals come into GENERAL use by the great unwashed, rather than by the intellectuals of the day who wrote most manuscripts, books, and the like. If anybody can shed more light on this it would be quite useful.

Most financial documents (such as rent books etc) continued to use roman numerals in lists of payments etc well into the 17th century, but accountancy may have been a very conservative discipline reluctant to give up the ways of the past.

My guess is that once literacy and numeracy became more commonplace, the use of arabic numerals spread quickly as far as casual inscriptions and manuscripts were concerned. One place that might be worth checking for 16th century dates would be on church memorials.

As I haven't seen this 1538 date, I cannot make a judgment on its validity, but if there is any doubt about the numbers, I would first look to see if the 5 could be mistaken for a 6 or an 8, and whether the 3 might be mistaken for an 8. If 1538 is genuine, then it is indeed a very good find.

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Hé ! Ki kapcsolva le a villanyt ?
IP: 92.20.54.181 Edited: 11/05/2011 22:19:04 by Peter Burgess
AndyC

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 22:17:10
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Comb Crag is a small quarry in Northumberland (well, little more than a outcrop in some woods). The stone was quarrued for nearby Hadrian's Wall.

So the graffiti there must be some time bertween AD 122 and 128.



(click image to open full size image in new window)




(click image to open full size image in new window)



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sougher

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 22:23:17
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The oldest date we found in a lead mine when exploring with "Op Mole", was 1666 (the date of the Fire of London), which was carved into a rock face alongside lots of tally mark loads (four vertical lines with a slanting line crossed though them). This date is in the upper workings of the Oxclose Mine, Snitterton (to which there is restricted entry), and can be viewed in Op Mole's "Underground Journey" film, when it was wrongly attributed to being found in their exploration of the Meerbrook Sough, Wirksworth.

Henry Fearne of Bonsall whose descendants later lived at Snitterton Hall in the 1600's, in his Will of 1546 (which can be found amongst Wills held in the Court of Canterbury) owned at this date the lead rights of Upper OxClose, and other mines in the "King's Field" that lay within the Snitterton Township of Matlock Mining Liberty of the Great Barmote Court of the Soke and Wapentake of Wirksworth, including Holmes Vein, Liberty Rushens Vein and Nether OxClose. The Will date predates the carved date of 1666 by over 120 years. Other papers (researched by an American friend) shews an Edmund Fearne Jr., owning the OxClose lead rights in 1666.

p.s. I've just seen Peter's posting regarding the 1538 date. Oxclose mine is very close to the Brightgate workings, and with the documentation that my American friend (originally born a Fearne in Wirksworth!) has found and had copied, although I have not seen this date underground, it would appear that this small area was being actively mined for lead in the early 1500's which can be proved by documentation. Oxclose mine and the other mine names which I have mentioned come under Matlock Mining Liberty - Snitterton Township (although in the then parish of Darley Dale - normally mining liberty boundaries follow parish boundaries, but this is an exception to the rule), and the Brightgate mines were within Wensley Mining Liberty, Northern Dale being the boundary between the two Mining Liberties - gets confusing doesn't it!
IP: 2.121.181.156 Edited: 12/05/2011 00:05:04 by sougher
owd git

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 11/05/2011 23:23:27
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I wondered when you would join the thread, Thank you Thumb Up Tim will fetch that DVD when he's next up. Oh! Margarette Beresford said to wish you well.
Ric'
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Roy Morton

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 12/05/2011 03:42:29
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Polberro has dates of 1770 and 1771 carved into the walls in two different ssections. the 1771 date is in the Wheal Luna section.
But Millclose has some pretty old ones - there's one of 1693 was it? either near or in top chamber.
Agricola where are you !!!! you did the survey.

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AR

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 12/05/2011 08:51:30
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I've not seen the date in Brightgate myself (Ric - it's on the roof the bottom end of the cave, close to the choked original entrance - see survey reproduced in Mining History 16:1) but I do have doubts myself. I have wondered whether the miner smoking it on the roof meant to put 1738 but did the 7 the wrong way round, as this would fit with some of the other smoked dates in the system. Even a radiocarbon date might not resolve the problem as calibration for post-medieval dates can be tricky, it might well produce a median date for the early 17th century with an age range of +/- 100 years!

Jim R has come up with quite a bit of documentation for mining in the area in the 16th century, there was a dispute over whether the right of free mining existed within Snitterton liberty with witnesses claiming they had mined freely during Henry VIII's reign - more details in Mining History 16:3

Not quite an date in a mine, but there's also the inscription on the Wirksworth measuring dish which records it being given by Henry VIII to the miners and brenners (smelters) of Wirksworth as a standard ore measure in 1513. I'm considering trying to organise a 500th birthday party for the dish in 2013.... Laugh

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owd git

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 12/05/2011 09:08:19
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Thanks Adam, ooh. I'd raise a mug to such a venerable dish!
sounds like a plan! would need to be somewhere deep or significant eh?
O.G.
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AR

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 13/05/2011 08:35:29
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It'd probably need be at the Moot Hall on court day, since that's now the only occasion when the dish comes out of safekeeping at Chatsworth, unless I can arrange for it to have a day out at the museum! Given how unique and venerable the dish is, I do feel it deserves a celebration in its own right.

Regarding dates at Millclose and Oxclose, accoriding to the Lead Legacy there's a date of 1623 somewhere in the Oxclose system. Millclose has a number of 17th-century dates from the 1660s through to the 1680s.

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derrickman

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Miner's graffiti - dates
Posted: 13/05/2011 08:45:41
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Arabic numerals came into general use in conjunction with the significant increase in literacy and numeracy rates in the mid-1600s.

The advantage of arabic numerals is that they are easier to manipulate and use for calculation. Roman numerals are easier for a population with low levels of literacy because they are to some extent graphic, and hence self-explanatory, which Arabic numbers are not.

Roman numerals are no problem if you are using some sort of abacus or tally-stick calculation process, as sub-literate or illiterate populations usually do.

Hence the use of Arabic numerals in Russian, because the Cyrillic alphabet was designed specifically to be used by a literate population. Russian differs phonetically from Latin languages, but a single character can have any pronounciation assigned to it that may be required.







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He knew the magic monotony of existence between sky and water: the criticism of men, the exactions of the sea, the prosaic severity of the daily task, because there is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
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