The archaeology of metal mining is a fascinating subject, but the most important part of a mine is underground. Here is an opportunity to experience a guided underground tour of a long abandoned mine, without putting yourself in danger!
Edwin Thorpe of the Shropshire Caving & Mining Club guides Kelvin Lake around Clive Copper Mine, which was abandoned in 1869.
Early narrow hand picked shafts and levels are explored, leading to large stopes blasted with gunpowder in the nineteenth century. Neatly stacked rock deads, remains of tallow candles and their clay holders, and a gunpowder barrel are just a few of the features examined.
Kelvin and Edwin finally abseil down a 50 metre deep shaft beside old pump rods and pipes, and explore the lower tramming level where sand, poured into the many shafts when the mine was abandoned, almost blocks the way.
The Clive geological fault is clearly visible underground, with mineralised sandstones on one side, marls and waterstones on the other.
Copper, Iron, Cobalt and Barium have stained the rocks in impressive patterns of whorls and rings, with patches of malachite blue. The fault wall is highly polished where the sides once rubbed together hundreds of millions of years ago.
The images on this page are taken from the video.