In a recent paper, Bick (1999) questions whether the Bronze Age mines discovered in mid-Wales were exploited for lead, or lead and silver, instead of copper and re-considers whether the ores were used for metal smelting. We present a short review of recent archaeological evidence and geochemical data from a blanket peat located close to the Bronze Age mine at Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth in order to consider the ideas presented by Bick. Increased copper concentrations in the peat profiles coincide with the known tenancy of the Bronze Age mine suggesting that the miner’s primary interest was to obtain copper. Archaeological evidence suggests that copper was extracted in the form of chalcopyrite from the copper-lead-zinc sulphide veins. Only low concentrations of lead and silver are recorded in the peat and this evidence raises doubts over the mining of lead and silver at Copa Hill in antiquity.
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