19th-Century Industrial Site Uncovered in Southwest England

England Bedminster Smelting WorksBRISTOL, ENGLAND—Bristol Live reports that traces of the Bedminster Smelting Works have been found under a parking lot in South Bristol. The smelting works operated in a heavily populated area for more than 100 years before it closed in 1963, and is remembered for producing solder for the production of metal cans and pollutants such as chemical fumes and smoke. The archaeological features at the site include the foundations of chimneys, furnaces, and stoking cellars. Simon Cox of Bristol and Bath Heritage Consultancy explained that many of the processes that went on at the smelting works were experimental, unpredictable, and kept as closely guarded secrets. The excavation and analysis of industrial residues will also yield information about how those processes evolved from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. “One of the things our excavations have shown is that the company seems to have been constantly rebuilding the works,” said Cai Mason of Wessex Archaeology. The new designs were presumably more efficient and created through a process of trial and error, he added. To read about copper smelting technology in Mesoamerica, go to “The Means of Production.”

Source: archaeology.org

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