November/December 2758 auc

Fr. Apulo Caesare C. Popillio Laena consulibus

Certamen Petronium

Five Roman Boats

Roman Town Houses

Mines and Quarries

Ancient Roman Travel Series

Rhine River Patrol

Recipe, Columella's Preserved Turnip

Philosophy Efforts I

Public Virtues: Nobilitas

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Mines and Quarries


Flint was the first element to be mined in quantity. These mines date from the late Mesolithic period. Ore minerals and large scale mining come into their own during the Bronze Age. The major effort was
developed as the native gold which was sought after in a most determined manner, had to be pursued by the working of extensive deposits=sits of gravel and sand and in pursuing veins of copper leading deep into the earth, up to approximately some 70 or 80 meters.

At Timna near the north end of the Gulf of Aquaba (western Red Sea) here is a significant amount of evidence strongly suggesting both surface processing facilities, as well as extensive systems of both galleries and shafting.

Mercury , gold and Copper are normally found as whole elements, while other metals are found only in combination with other elements. These elements are usually arsenic, and sulfur, and of course oxygen. Surface deposits of metaliferrous ore is usually in he form of some sort of oxide, having been altered by chemical action of the atmosphere. In the greater depths sulfides replace the oxides and carbonates. The main ore bodies which were worked both by the Romans as well as the Greeks were:

  • gold quartz (gold);
  • argentiferous galena (silver);
  • chalcopyrite and chalcosite (copper);
  • casserite (tin);
  • galena (lead);
  • iron pyrites and hematite (iron);
  • calamine (zinc);
  • cinnabar (mercury).


TThere was a widespread usage of the copper - alloy metallurgy during the bronze age period of prehistory across modern-day Europe. A basic
knowledge of metallurgy, which apparently first appeared in the Near East, developed also in stone-age Europe perhaps as early as 4500 BC. A
technical advances became known the adoption of bronze (coppe-tin alloy) was adopted in Europe at least by 2000 BC. The Bronze age in both Ireland and Britain are generally determined to be the period between the earliest introduction of metal to the gradual movement toward iron usage. This period is roughly seen as from 2500 BC until after 600 BC.

To be Continued


  • Wiliam O'Brien, "Bronze Age Copper Mining In Britain and Ireland," Shire Archaeology Series, Shire Publications Limited, Buckinghamshire, UK, 1996 (ISBN 0-7478-0321-8;
  • John F. Healy, "Mines and Quarries," --- "Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean -- Greece and Rome -- Michael Grant and Raechel Kitzinger Eds.,
© NovaRoma 2005
editing by
Marcus Minucius-Tiberius Audens
designed by
Marcus Philippus Conservatus and Franciscus Apulus Caesar

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