| 7 May 2003
Largest prehistoric man-made cavern hidden in Wales?
The cavern is part of a Bronze Age copper mine complex which was first uncovered in 1987 at Great Orme's Head near Llandudno (Wales). Archaeologists excavating the 4,000-year-old site made their latest discovery 130ft below ground in December and have estimated it is at least 50ft in length. They know the roof area is large, but will have to dig down through many layers of silt before they discover exactly how deep it is. They have previously excavated four miles of tunnels at the complex, which is the largest Bronze Age copper mine in the world and is open to the public. Surveys indicate there are about 10 miles of tunnels in the area. The largest known cavern before the latest one was discovered was the Great Stope, which is 60ft long, 25ft high and 25ft wide.
The copper mined at Great Orme by the ancient Britons would have been used to make axes and other implements. Research showed that, initially, the copper was mainly used to make tools but, as time went on, more weapons were produced as people competed for food and land. Excavation was only carried out during the winter time, when the mine was closed to the public, and work will not resume on the site until October. "We have surveyed four miles of Bronze Age passages, and from time to time we find something." said Great Ormes Mines managing director Tony Hammond "We're the largest copper mine from Bronze Age Europe. So this find will make it a bit bigger. But you never know what you're going to find, and that's the exciting thing. " he concluded.
Source: BBC News (25 April 2003)
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