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Square ended shovel from Odin Mine.
Date Made/Found: 1600-1700
Material and Medium: Wood
Dimensions: Length 742mm
Place Object Found: Castleton
Department: Archaeology
Accession Number: J1957.58d
This shovel is one of a group of mining tools from Odin Mine in Castleton. They were collected by the Victorian antiquarian Rooke Pennington. This lead mine was first recorded about 1280. It was still working into the 1800s.

A shovel made just from wood is not very good for digging. The wooden blade of this shovel would have been covered with a metal edging called a shoe. This provided the working edge. The use of wood for making shovels was probably quite common. Only the working edge of any tool needs to be metal. It is cheaper to replace an iron shoe than a complete iron shovel. The use of iron shoes on spades is known from at least the Roman period.

Wood doesn't tend to survive very well, except in wet conditions. Mines can be wet places. This may be why these tools survived.
Display Location: Weston Park Museum

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