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date: 27 November 2022

mines and mining, Greeklocked

mines and mining, Greeklocked

  • John Ellis Jones

Extract

Greeks obtained *gold and *silver and ‘utility’ metals, copper, *tin (for bronze), *iron and *lead by mining and by trade; *colonization extended their scope for both. Literary evidence for mining is mainly historical not technical; later references to Egyptian and Roman methods are only partly applicable. Epigraphical, archaeological, and scientific evidence has extended knowledge of industrial organization and techniques, and proved the early exploitation of certain ore-fields. Climate, geography, and geology dictated methods: panning for gold (as in Asia Minor and Black Sea regions) and hushing of placer deposits were rarely practicable in Greece and its islands, while low rainfall reduced mine-drainage problems and accounted for the elaborate catchment channels, cisterns and ore-washeries designed to recycle water in the *Laurium area. There the Athenian lead-silver mines were extremely extensive (copper and iron ores were also exploited). *Thoricus has revealed sherd evidence for mining in the early bronze age (third millennium bce), late Mycenaean (see mycenaean civilization), and late Roman times, with marks of prehistoric hammer-stones and later metal chisels and picks.

Subjects

  • Ancient Economy

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