Totley Moor is a Bronze Age industrial production site that lies east of Nether Padley, in the Peak District National Park (grid reference SK 284 790).
The area has produced evidence for activity in the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age. In the Bronze Age, shale-working took place on the moor at Flask Edge, where shale-bearing rock is visible at the surface.
There are public footpaths across Totley Moor, but no access to the site itself.
In 1959, fires cleared some of the vegetation from parts of Totley Moor. In 1960, Jeffrey Radley found a Bronze Age shale-working floor. On this floor were 20 shale bracelet fragments, and other worked pieces.
Shale or cannel coal is found in coal seams in North Derbyshire gritstone. It was also worked into rings and bracelets at Swine Sty, a shale-working site on Big Moor, near Baslow.
Worked shale from Totley Moor
These five pieces of worked shale are manufacturing waste that was found on Totley Moor. A thick natural deposit of shale is visible on the surface here. A small working area or floor was found here in 1960. The pieces measure around 3-7cm long and 2-3cm wide.
Four of the pieces are parts of rings or bracelets. They were broken during manufacture and thrown away. Shale is easy to work with flint tools but this means it can break easily too.
The circular piece has a small perforation in the top surface, which is the beginning of a central hole. Making the hole is the most important part of making a ring or bracelet. Unfortunately it is also the stage when the shale is most likely to break.
About 20 pieces of ring or bracelet fragments were found on the working floor at Totley Moor. Most are pieces from bracelets between 8-10cm in diameter. They are in various stages of manufacture. Some of the surfaces have flaked off, giving a rough finish. This has been partly caused by the fire which cleared the vegetation and revealed the site. However, some pieces still have smoothed and polished surfaces. This can be seen on the fragment at the top left of the image. There is some cracking on this fragment which may also be due to the fire.
This site is less than 3 miles from Swine Sty. Shale was worked into rings and bracelets here in the Bronze Age. Similar methods were used to work the shale. It is possible that the two sites are contemporary, but unfortunately no dating evidence was found at Totley Moor.
Radley, J. , 1969 , “A shale bracelet industry from Totley Moor, near Sheffield” , Transactions of the Hunter Society , 1969 , 9 : 264-8 .