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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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TV crew visits Coniston copper mines

CONISTON’S historic copper mines are set to feature in an episode of a popular Channel 4 programme early next year.

The Time Team crew – including effervescent presenter Tony Robinson – was in the village filming for three days last week.

The team of expert archaeologists, landscapers and surveyors were in Coniston to excavate around the sites of the Levers Water and Cobblers Level mines.

Their brief was to establish whether documentary evidence of copper mining dating back to the Elizabethan period of the 16th century could be supported by artefacts in the ground.

Heavy fog, a little rain and the mountainous terrain made life extremely difficult for the show’s 40-odd person crew.

But series producer Sian Price said the expedition uncovered some interesting discoveries that would make for good viewing when the new series aired in January.

“The weather wasn’t too kind to us and it was one of the more difficult ones logistically because we were excavating in the mountains,” she said.

“So the biggest challenge, in a way, was getting teams of people and all the equipment up and down the mountainside.”

Mountaineer Ian Matheson was one of the members from the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society who assisted the visitors during their stay.

He said that the society was delighted to have the team come and add to the local knowledge of the mine sites.

“It is has a long history of mining, at least back to the Elizabethan period, but it is suspected that copper was mined there much earlier than that – maybe even back to the Bronze Age,” he said.

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