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but this view changed during the 20th century, and Timothy Champion observed in 2001 that "The direct archaeological evidence for the presence of Phoenician or Carthaginian traders as far north as Britain is non-existent".

Originally it is likely that alluvial deposits in the gravels of streams were exploited but later underground mining took root. As demand for bronze grew in the Middle East, the accessible local supplies of tin ore (cassiterite) were exhausted and searches for new supplies were made over all the known world, including Britain.

Chalcolithic metal workers discovered that by putting a small amount of tin (5 – 20%) in molten copper the alloy bronze was produced. The oldest production of tin-bronze is in Turkey about 3500 BC but exploitation of the tin resources in Britain is believed to have started before 2000 BC, with a thriving tin trade developing with the civilisations of the Mediterranean.

Tin and, later, copper were the most commonly extracted metals.

Some tin mining continued long after the mining of other metals had become unprofitable.

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