Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gold mining in ancient Egypt

Mining Weekly (Jade Davenport)

Via the Petrie Museum Unofficial Facebook page.

 The history of gold is as old as that of man. There is no doubt that it was one of the first metals known to primitive man, as it exists in nature in an elemental state. Its association with primitive cultures is evidenced by the fact that crude ornaments of gold have been found among the remains of all prehistoric peoples.

However, the first people to use gold on a considerable scale were the ancient Egyptians. Archaeological evidence reveals that the yellow metal came into fairly extensive use during the predynastic period, that is, before 3100 BCE.

Although the origins of gold mining in predynastic Egypt are shrouded in mystery, it is likely that, during that period, the metal was extracted from alluvial deposits.

It was only with the advent of the early dynastic period, from 3100 BCE onwards, that gold began to be extracted by systematic mining. Some of the earliest mining operations were conducted in the granite mountains east of Coptos and further south, in Nubia, between the Nile and the Red Sea, during the early dynastic age.

No comments: