The Archaeology of Underground Mines and Quarries in England
Author: John Barnatt. Photographs by Paul Deakin and others.
Historic England, Swindon. 2019. ISBN 978-1-84802-381-9.
136 pages. 222mm x 275mm page size. Text, maps and many colour images.
Members of NMCS can receive a 20% discount and free p&p by entering discount code AUMQ19 on the basket page of the Historic England bookshop https://retail.historicenglandservices.org.uk/index.html
This book presents a detailed introduction to the underground mining and quarrying heritage in England. It reviews the many types of mineral and stone taken from the ground and looks at the archaeological remains that survive today and are accessible to those who go underground.
It is designed to illustrate the wonders to be found underground and give the reader ways forward should they wish to follow up their interest.
John Barnatt is an archaeologist with a long record of work on mining, particularly in Derbyshire. Part one of the book is an introduction to Mining and Quarrying and is followed by chapters on the products of mining and quarrying and the regional variations. Part two describes the common themes and the local diversity.
John states that one primary aim of producing the book was “to inform people wanting to do their own archaeological investigations underground” and to provide a starting point for the inexperienced.
Almost every page has coloured photographs and maps of underground features and the book is a visual pleasure for the reader. The photographs are very well chosen and provide an excellent visual summary of mines in England. There is a short section covering access and organisations that operate within England.
Inevitably there are minor statements and captions that the reader might consider worthy of revision, but to fulfil the primary aim of informing people this book fulfils that aim. The book does not aim to be a gazetteer, nor is it an access guide, and it cannot cover all the details of history and technology that underpin the mining and underground quarrying industries.
Apart from the sheer personal pleasure of browsing the pictures, I can see that this book will be an excellent tool to show a mine owning landowner, a local government planning department and to encourage experienced explorers to start recording the features that they walk past every weekend. It will also be a brilliant tool to encourage new people to getting involved in mining archaeology.