Photo of Dr Peter Claughton

Dr Peter Claughton


I came late to formal academic study, having spent 23 years serving in the Royal Air Force. Over that time I had developed a deep interest in the history of mining and, whilst stationed at RAF Chivenor, near Barnstaple, began the primary documentary research required to fully investigate the story of non-ferrous metal mining in the north of Devon. In 1994 I came to Exeter to read Economic and Social History, on a part time basis, graduating with a PhD in 2003 (Silver Mining in England and Wales, 1066-1500). Three years later I co-operated with Prof. Steve Rippon, Department of Archaeology, in a successful bid for Leverhulme Trust funding for a study of the landscape archaeology of medieval silver mining in Devon – published as Mining in a Medieval Landscape: the Royal silver mines in the Tamar Valley (Exeter Press, 2009).

My work on medieval silver mining has led to co-operation with colleagues on various aspects of the industry, including the investigation of evidence for post-medieval smelting at Combe Martin (see Paynter, et al.  Lead Smelting Waste from the 2001-2002 Excavations at Combe Martin, Devon, English Heritage, Centre for Archaeology, Report 79/2003). At the same time I have expanded my research interests into other sectors of the historic mining industries – including silver production in eastern Australia in the late 19th / early 20th century, and the sources of iron ore for the steel industry (on the latter, see Claughton, ‘Mining in the mountains: the development of aerial ropeways on the iron mines around the Canigou massif (Pyrénées-Orientales, France),’ forthcoming, Proceedings of the 11th International Mining History Congress, Linares, Spain, September 2009). For a list of publications, see the link to my CV.

The value of archaeological investigation in respect of the study of historic mining activity has become evident as my research work has progressed, and my work has subsequently moved in that direction. As the Conservation Officer for the National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) I am directing the development of a Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries in England – with financial support from Historic England. The first part of that Framework was published as Mining and Quarrying Archaeology in England (2016) – copy available from I have also managed the delivery of a community archaeology programme, The Bordley Township Project, investigating the landscape of upland settlement in the Yorkshire Dales, and carried out a small amount of consultancy work. In 2014 my work in archaeology was recognised when I was elected as a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA).