Pete pours copper from a small crucible into a mould to make a copper spear-head. The furnace in the background was used during the open day to make iron tools and was hot enough to melt copper for this demonstration. Note the face mask, gloves and apron to keep the hot metal at a safe distance.
Casting copper. As well as extracting small amounts of copper from the Alderley Edge ore by the traditional Bronze Age techniques, we also demonstrated how copper is melted and moulded into tools and weapons. The furnace may be modern (well, relatively modern - after all, it is Steve's) but the technique is as old as copper itself.
(Left) Practical experiments in mining. Chris demonstrates how the old miner drilled the rock with steel drills by the light of a candle. The drill is a modern reconstruction (so as to preserve the original) but the technique is the same as used in the 19th century. The key difference is that in a chamber the size of Sand Cavern, where this experiment was carried out, there would have been one man holding the drill and one or two others hammering it with sledge hammers.