Geochemical evidence for atmospheric pollution derived from prehistoric copper mining at Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth, Mid-Wales

Timothy Michael Mighall, P. W. Abrahams, J. P. Grattan, D. Hayes, S. Timberlake, S. Forsyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents geochemical data from a blanket peat located close to a Bronze Age copper mine on the northern slopes of the Ystwyth valley, Ceredigion, mid-Wales, UK. The research objective was to explore the possibility that the peat contained a geochemical record of the pollution generated by mining activity. Four peat monoliths were extracted from the blanket peat to reconstruct the pollution history of the prehistoric mine. Three different geochemical measurement techniques were employed and four copper profiles have been reconstructed, two of which are radiocarbon-dated. The radiocarbon dates at one profile located close to the mine confirm that copper enrichment occurs in the peat during the known period of prehistoric mining. Similar enrichment of copper concentrations is shown in one adjacent profile and a profile within 30 m away. In contrast, copper was not enriched in the other radiocarbon-dated monolith, collected approximately 1.35 km to the north of the mine, Whilst other possible explanations to explain the copper concentrations are discussed, it is argued that the high copper concentrations represent evidence of localised atmospheric pollution caused by Bronze Age copper mining in the British Isles. The results of this study suggest that copper may be immobile in blanket peat and such deposits can usefully be used to reconstruct atmospheric pollution histories in former copper mining areas. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume292
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002

Keywords

  • peat
  • geochemical monitoring
  • copper
  • bronze age
  • mining
  • Copa Hill
  • Wales
  • OMBROTROPHIC PEAT BOG
  • ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION
  • ENRICHMENT FACTORS
  • AGE CALIBRATION
  • JURA MOUNTAINS
  • GREENLAND ICE
  • HEAVY-METALS
  • LEAD
  • DEPOSITION
  • PB

Cite this

Geochemical evidence for atmospheric pollution derived from prehistoric copper mining at Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth, Mid-Wales. / Mighall, Timothy Michael; Abrahams, P. W.; Grattan, J. P.; Hayes, D.; Timberlake, S.; Forsyth, S.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 292, 06.2002, p. 69-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{16630b20657a4ff997303e4c77682b20,
title = "Geochemical evidence for atmospheric pollution derived from prehistoric copper mining at Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth, Mid-Wales",
abstract = "This paper presents geochemical data from a blanket peat located close to a Bronze Age copper mine on the northern slopes of the Ystwyth valley, Ceredigion, mid-Wales, UK. The research objective was to explore the possibility that the peat contained a geochemical record of the pollution generated by mining activity. Four peat monoliths were extracted from the blanket peat to reconstruct the pollution history of the prehistoric mine. Three different geochemical measurement techniques were employed and four copper profiles have been reconstructed, two of which are radiocarbon-dated. The radiocarbon dates at one profile located close to the mine confirm that copper enrichment occurs in the peat during the known period of prehistoric mining. Similar enrichment of copper concentrations is shown in one adjacent profile and a profile within 30 m away. In contrast, copper was not enriched in the other radiocarbon-dated monolith, collected approximately 1.35 km to the north of the mine, Whilst other possible explanations to explain the copper concentrations are discussed, it is argued that the high copper concentrations represent evidence of localised atmospheric pollution caused by Bronze Age copper mining in the British Isles. The results of this study suggest that copper may be immobile in blanket peat and such deposits can usefully be used to reconstruct atmospheric pollution histories in former copper mining areas. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "peat, geochemical monitoring, copper, bronze age, mining, Copa Hill, Wales, OMBROTROPHIC PEAT BOG, ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION, ENRICHMENT FACTORS, AGE CALIBRATION, JURA MOUNTAINS, GREENLAND ICE, HEAVY-METALS, LEAD, DEPOSITION, PB",
author = "Mighall, {Timothy Michael} and Abrahams, {P. W.} and Grattan, {J. P.} and D. Hayes and S. Timberlake and S. Forsyth",
year = "2002",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00027-X",
language = "English",
volume = "292",
pages = "69--80",
journal = "Science of the Total Environment",
issn = "0048-9697",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Geochemical evidence for atmospheric pollution derived from prehistoric copper mining at Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth, Mid-Wales

AU - Mighall, Timothy Michael

AU - Abrahams, P. W.

AU - Grattan, J. P.

AU - Hayes, D.

AU - Timberlake, S.

AU - Forsyth, S.

PY - 2002/6

Y1 - 2002/6

N2 - This paper presents geochemical data from a blanket peat located close to a Bronze Age copper mine on the northern slopes of the Ystwyth valley, Ceredigion, mid-Wales, UK. The research objective was to explore the possibility that the peat contained a geochemical record of the pollution generated by mining activity. Four peat monoliths were extracted from the blanket peat to reconstruct the pollution history of the prehistoric mine. Three different geochemical measurement techniques were employed and four copper profiles have been reconstructed, two of which are radiocarbon-dated. The radiocarbon dates at one profile located close to the mine confirm that copper enrichment occurs in the peat during the known period of prehistoric mining. Similar enrichment of copper concentrations is shown in one adjacent profile and a profile within 30 m away. In contrast, copper was not enriched in the other radiocarbon-dated monolith, collected approximately 1.35 km to the north of the mine, Whilst other possible explanations to explain the copper concentrations are discussed, it is argued that the high copper concentrations represent evidence of localised atmospheric pollution caused by Bronze Age copper mining in the British Isles. The results of this study suggest that copper may be immobile in blanket peat and such deposits can usefully be used to reconstruct atmospheric pollution histories in former copper mining areas. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - This paper presents geochemical data from a blanket peat located close to a Bronze Age copper mine on the northern slopes of the Ystwyth valley, Ceredigion, mid-Wales, UK. The research objective was to explore the possibility that the peat contained a geochemical record of the pollution generated by mining activity. Four peat monoliths were extracted from the blanket peat to reconstruct the pollution history of the prehistoric mine. Three different geochemical measurement techniques were employed and four copper profiles have been reconstructed, two of which are radiocarbon-dated. The radiocarbon dates at one profile located close to the mine confirm that copper enrichment occurs in the peat during the known period of prehistoric mining. Similar enrichment of copper concentrations is shown in one adjacent profile and a profile within 30 m away. In contrast, copper was not enriched in the other radiocarbon-dated monolith, collected approximately 1.35 km to the north of the mine, Whilst other possible explanations to explain the copper concentrations are discussed, it is argued that the high copper concentrations represent evidence of localised atmospheric pollution caused by Bronze Age copper mining in the British Isles. The results of this study suggest that copper may be immobile in blanket peat and such deposits can usefully be used to reconstruct atmospheric pollution histories in former copper mining areas. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - peat

KW - geochemical monitoring

KW - copper

KW - bronze age

KW - mining

KW - Copa Hill

KW - Wales

KW - OMBROTROPHIC PEAT BOG

KW - ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION

KW - ENRICHMENT FACTORS

KW - AGE CALIBRATION

KW - JURA MOUNTAINS

KW - GREENLAND ICE

KW - HEAVY-METALS

KW - LEAD

KW - DEPOSITION

KW - PB

U2 - 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00027-X

DO - 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00027-X

M3 - Article

VL - 292

SP - 69

EP - 80

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

ER -