"Time capsule" from the century before last and a mysterious inscription found in an ancient cave

A group of speleologists discovered in a centuries-old cobalt mine in Cheshire, England, several

artifacts. Among them are leather shoes, clay pipes and a mysterious inscription written in soot.

The mine is located near Manchester in the villagecalled Alderley Edge. Once it was a source of cobalt, which is used in the creation of ceramics and glass. Its mining was a profitable business for England in the 19th century. Later, importing cobalt from other countries became cheaper than mining. Therefore, this particular mine, which was owned by Sir John Thomas Stanley in the early 1800s, was abandoned around 1810.

Remains of shoes found in the mine. Image credit: National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Members of the Derbyshire Caving Clubhave been exploring the Alderley Edge mine since the 1970s, renting access from the National Trust, a British conservation charity. A group of cavers recently came across some personal items left in a previously unexplored part of the mine. According to scientists, the find is reminiscent of the opening of a time capsule.

"Find a mine in pristine condition, along withsuch personal items and inscriptions are very rare,” said Ed Coghlan, a member of the Derbyshire Speleological Club. “This is a window into the past, to the day the miners stopped working.”

According to the statement, along with shoes and pipescavers found a bowl buried in the wall - so superstitious miners thanked the mine for good ore. Also found in the cave was a winch that was used to lift and move heavy materials.

The fact that the miners left behind such an important tool means that they were "without much warning told to pack up their tools and move on," the cavers noted.

One of the most mysterious finds was the inscriptionfrom the initials "WS" with the date "August 20, 1810". “Whether it was just a person who wanted to say:“ I was here, ”or is it a trace of the visit of the mine manager or the owner of the estate, is unknown,” the researchers conclude.

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