Time Team

Season 19 Episode 6

Swansea, Wales

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Aired Sunday 5:45 PM Feb 26, 2012 on Channel 4
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Swansea, Wales
AIRED:

A copper bottomed dig.

Two hundred years ago, Swansea was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, if not the world. The source of those riches was neither the coal nor the steel recently associated with the area, but copper.

The Welsh port city once led the world in copper smelting, but today there's almost nothing to be seen of this unique heritage. So Tony Robinson and the Team investigate one of the very first copper works, White Rock.

Records show that its Great Workhouse housed as many as 20 furnaces, right by the River Tawe, and also that copper production once devastated this landscape, leeching deadly toxins into the ground and sending countless workers to an early grave.

The poisonous fumes blighted the landscape, and the valley was described as akin to Dante's Inferno, with smoke, noise and pollution. It's a complete contrast to what can be seen there today.

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Huw Bowen

Huw Bowen

Convenor of History Research, Swansea University

Guest Star

Ronnie Maddock

Ronnie Maddock

Retired copper engineer

Guest Star

Ian Gough

Ian Gough

Welsh Rugby Player

Guest Star

Glyn Jenkins

Glyn Jenkins

Graphical Artist

Recurring Role

Ian Barclay

Ian Barclay

Digger Driver

Recurring Role

Ian Powlesland

Ian Powlesland

Digger/Archaeologist

Recurring Role

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