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It really is not possible to separate these four subjects: the Forest of Dean is a special area whose history is archaeology and the archaeology was defined by the geology of the area. Of course the geography of the area is very much determined by both the geology and the archaeology.
The geology of the area is that of a bowl in the strata, the top of which has been eroded. That allowed the coal and iron in this strata to be exposed at the surface for easy extraction at an early stage. Certainly it was extracted in Roman times and probably long before. The main coal seams forms a ring near which much of the industry and therefore the habitation developed.
The iron was in pockets. The coal seams, although accessible, were not of the highest quality and were not very thick, so the resources were worked out quite early. The last coal mine closed about 1965 and the area went into decline. Of late however it has become a much sought-after residential area but its varied history leaves a lot of interest for the keen mind. Furthermore the easy access to the minerals and the early working means that a lot of its geology and archaeology is as yet undocumented.
This section is currently being maintained as an area for noting my own findings on the subjects, so the pages may be somewhat less than perfectly organised.
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