Early stone mines worked surface outcrops of rock in quarries. As the quarries progressed they would often extend the workings underground to follow good 'seams' of rock. This did away with the need to remove large quantities of over-burden.
The most common underground stone mines were worked for limestone, although other types of stone, such as sandstone, were particularly prized for buildings.
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Beer Stone this is seam of crystalline, granular limestone deposited during the Upper Cretaceous period. The seam is only 4m thick and rests on Cenomanian limestone. It has been worked at a number of sites in Devon, England. This freestone is prized as building stone suitable for carving.
Bath Stone a golden coloured Oolitic limestone deposited during the Middle Jurassic period. Made of grain-like fragments of calcium carbonate coated with lime. Worked at a series of sites near to Bath, England. The Jurassic is one of Britains most prolific formations used for building stone.
Dudley Limestones a grey limestone formed under a tropical sea during the Silurian period. These limestones are world famous for their fossils and are best viewed in the tunnels and caverns under Castle Hill, Dudley, where a coral reef and other features are visible. The stone was worked by Lord Dudley Ward during the industrial revolution for blast furnace flux, earlier periods had seen its use for buildings.