Prehistoric use of the fire-setting method in the copper-mining district of Cabrières (Hérault, France)


en Comptes Rendus Palevol 1 (8) - Pages 711-716

Published on 31 December 2002

Fire-setting to open up mines has been used on hard rock since prehistoric times. In the copper-mining district of Cabrières, the existence of metre-sized spherical or sub-spherical cavities, sometimes spaced along the same vertical in an ore seam, has usually been ascribed to this method 〚12〛 , 〚13〛 and 〚20〛 . Two AMS 14 C dating of micro-charcoal found in dolomite and of burnt ore breccias related to extraction in these cavities give the ages 3830 ± 40 BP, cal BC 2340–2130 and 3900 ± 40 BP, cal BC 2480–2280, which is the first evidence in France of the use of fire-setting in prehistoric mines.


fire-setting, copper mines, Bronze Age, Cabrières, southern France

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