Photo of Dr Peter Claughton

Dr Peter Claughton

Research interests

  • ·         The production of silver in Britain and Ireland during the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods

o   The Crown silver mines in Devon – particularly those at Bere Ferrers and Combe Martin

o   The development of silver mining in Ireland outside of Crown control

o   Comparisons with the development of silver mining in France

  • ·         The production of silver in the late 19th / early 20th century

o   The problems of extracting silver from poly-metallic mineral deposits in eastern Australia (Queensland and New South Wales) – with particular reference to smelting techniques

o   The recovery of silver from zinc ores – the activities of Dillwyn & Co, Swansea

  • ·         The supply of iron and associated ores to the steel industry

o   The sources of ores (iron and the steel hardening metals) used in the British steel industry, particularly during times of conflict

o   The techniques used in mining and transporting iron ores in the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales – particularly the use of aerial ropeways

  • ·         The use of customary law in the regulation of mining
  • ·         Mining techniques – particularly the subterranean evidence for working in the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods

My research into the history of non-ferrous metal mining was brought into focus as a result of my post-graduate studies in the 1990s on the mining of silver in England and Wales during the Late Medieval Period, moving from the study of individual mines to an examination of the industry as a whole and the factors affecting of its development. Whist the consideration of the physical evidence has always had a part to play in the study of historic mining activity this is being taken forward in a structured manner, influenced in part by the work carried out with Prof. Steve Rippon and Dr Chris Smart in the Department of Archaeology, 2006-8, which led to the publication of Mining in a Medieval Landscape: the Royal silver mines in the Tamar Valley (Exeter Press, 2009). My research work on the mining and processing of silver-bearing ores in eastern Australia has been enhanced by co-operation with Dr Lorna Anguilano, Brunel University, in the analysis of smelting residues, providing an added dimension to the examination of the archaeological evidence.

The move to a study of the iron ore resources for steel industry was initiated in 2005/5, perhaps as a diversion from silver! Over the last few years this has developed with the opportunity to examine in detail the operation of mines in Pyrénées-Orientales, along with a focus on the role that metalliferous mineral production had in times of conflict over the 100th anniversary of the First World War.