Metalworking

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Metalworking

Devon was one of the major iron mining areas of Roman Britain, with major smelting sites on the Blackdown Hills and Exmoor. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the Roman town has produced a variety of evidence of metalworking, notably iron smithing, and small-scale metalworking of copper alloys in crucibles.

These rather dull-looking fragments of fired clay were excavated in Friernhay in 1981. Scientific analysis of the residues on their surfaces showed that they had formed parts of small vessels, sealed with domed lids, used in separating silver from gold.

This exciting discovery was published by Justine Bayley in her paper ‘Precious Metal Refining in Roman Exeter’ in Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society No. 59 (2001), pp 141-7.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum