Monday, November 20, 2006

Exhibition: Gold

There's an exhibition at the moment at the American Museum of Natural History (New York) which looks at gold, including its geological context, how it is extracted and its use in different ancient socieities. Having just returned from Egypt's Eastern Desert, where gold was extracted from mines from Pharaonic times onwards, it was nice to see the above page featuring the Wadi Hammamat: "The Turin Papyrus, an ancient scroll from about 1150 BC, contains the oldest known geological map. It accurately shows the local distribution of different rock types in a 15-kilometer stretch of Wadi Hammamat, the 'Valley of Many Baths,' in Egypt's Eastern Desert. Inscriptions on the map describe such features as 'mountains where gold is worked,' and 'houses of the gold-working settlement.' Some experts think the three vertical 'stripes' on the upper left of the map represent iron-stained, gold-bearing quartz veins." The website's exhibition pages contain many fascinating details about gold. For more details about the exhibition see the above page. For details about opening times, ticket sales etc see:

An image and full description of the Turin Papyrus can be seen at: (James A Harrell)

For full details of the best known of the Eastern Desert gold mines, Bir Umm Fawakhir, with excellent images and a short bibliography, see the following web pages:

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