Alan Williams

Postgraduate Research Student


Alan graduated in Mining Geology from Imperial College, University of London, where he was awarded the Clement Le Neve Foster prize.

Prior to his current PhD research work, Alan was department manager for raw materials and glass composition research and development at Pilkington NSG, an international glass company.

Research Interests

Thesis Title

"Characterising Bronze Age copper from the Great Orme mine in North Wales to determine and interpret its distribution."

The Great Orme Bronze Age copper mine in North Wales is one of the largest in Europe. However, past influential claims that the metal produced by the mine did not match most British Bronze Age metal and that the site was only large because of long-term small scale working, have marginalised the importance of the mine. This research programme involves analyses of numerous ore samples, smelting experiments, analysis of mine bronze fragments and copper from the nearby smelting site. A new methodology of mine-based metal groups rather than artefact-based metal groups, has been developed using composition and lead isotopes. The results are revealing that the mine dominated British Bonze Age metal supply around 1600-1400 BC with some metal reaching the near Continent stretching from Brittany to Sweden. This has important implications for the social organisation of the mine. A self-funded project with analytical funding from NERC, CADW, HMS and GOM. 

Alan’s wider research interests include prehistoric and historic metal mining and smelting and applying expertise in ore geology, mineralogy, geochemistry and pyrotechnology.

Research Funding