Mining and Metallurgy

Paul T. Craddock

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Mining and Metallurgy

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
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The first millennium bc saw great developments in all aspects of metal production. The introduction of coinage in the mid-first millennium bc created an enormous demand for precious metals: gold and, above all, silver. Metal ores in Northern and Western Europe, Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt are discussed. The main innovation in mining technology in the first millennium bc was the introduction of iron and steel tools, completely replacing the stone mining hammers and array of bone, antler, and bronze tools that had been used previously. The benefits of ores are also described. The article then addresses smelting and refining technologies. The uses of iron, steel, and brass are presented. The production of metals also survived the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west.

Keywords: mining; metallurgy; iron; steel; brass; gold; silver; smelting; refining

Article.  12600 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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