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How A Greek Silver Mine Discovery Is Rewriting History

(Kitco News) - Archeologists in Greece have found a silver mine that may rewrite mining history during the Aegean times.

It sounds like a plot line for a new Indiana Jones film, but it’s real.

“Mining archaeologists who were conducting a subterranean investigation of a silver mine discovered in Thorikos, Greece, have found a mining complex with infrastructure unlike any seen from this time period (around 3200 BCE),” said New Historian post Sunday.

The website, which compiles the latest news about history, noted that unlike any mining system in the area, the discovered mine is said to have open spaces that have been untouched for over 5,000 years. According to the post, other items discovered by the archeologists also prove that the mine was operational as far back as 3200 BCE.

Image courtesy of Ghent University

What is really boggling the scientists’ minds is how ancient miners were able to extract the metals and minerals from the mines without today’s technology.

“Extracting the silver would have required an exceptional amount of resources and an advanced technical system of a scale unique in the ancient world,” the post said. “Mapping the system of mining shafts has proven extremely difficult even for experienced archaeologists, who are required to wear high-tech equipment through the cramped and intertwining network of shafts in stifling conditions and temperatures up to 70° Fahrenheit.”

The post said that it is believed the mines were likely worked by slaves under poor working conditions.

Historians estimate that during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, “the silver mines, triumphs of human ingenuity, would have been the most significant mining district in Greece, and likely the basis of Athens’ domination over the Aegean world.”

The scientists hope to unearth more of the subterranean mine in order to learn more about these early period mining technologies, as well as how minerals were extracted and eventually circulated.

By Sarah Benali of Kitco News;
Follow me on Twitter @SdBenali



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