Department of Classics and Archaeology

Of fire, ice and people:

Peak District lead production, human health and the environment over the last two millennia


Project summary

This project explores the lead pollution record and environmental change in the Peak District, Derbyshire, from peat cores, speleothems and the human remains of the historic population of the Peak District, from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern period.

Five people, three women and two men, in coats stand facing the camera holding a large pole with other equipment and objects scattered around them and a flat, grassy plain below blue skies behind (photo).
Coring at Ringinglow, Derbyshire, October 2017 (Photo: Matt Jones, School. of Geography, UoN).



Project details

The lead pollution record is being explored as a proxy for lead and silver production in the Peak District through time, and for its long-term impact on human health.

Currently, work is focussing on multi-elemental analysis of a new peat core from Ringinglow bog, in the High Peak, Derbyshire, extracted in October 2017, for lead and other historic metal pollution (in collaboration with BGS); and also on the analysis of pollution levels in humans from the Iron Age to Late medieval period in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its environs in the High Peak (in collaboration with BGS and the University of Sheffield).

We aim to publish the first results in 2021. 

Project funding

 This project is funded through the University of Nottingham Research Priority Area - 'Sustainable Environments – Life in Changing Environments', 2017). The project has also been funded by our project partner, the Peak District National Park Authority. We are also grateful to the National Trust and English Nature for their support. 





Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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