We are all interested in finding, mining, and panning for gold. This has been going on for a long time, especially in the United States since the mid-1800′s during the gold rush in California, Georgia, and Tennessee. There is a current, smaller scale gold rush going on since the television networks have started syndicating shows about the topic, such as Gold Rush: Alaska, Gold Fever, and Prospecting America. But what about a long, long time ago when the first people thought, “Hey, we all like these precious metals and stones from out of the ground. I’m going to get rich by finding my own!” Let us discuss the history of gold mining deeper…
Nobody really knows when people first began trying to find gold, but we do have some dates on old artifacts created out of gold. These were discovered in Bulgaria at the Varna Necropolis. The gold artifacts were found in graves which have been dated to some time around 4500 BCE. This tells us that gold prospecting and gold mining is in face at least 6000 years old if not closer to 7000 years.
More Civilizations in the History of Gold Mining
Other older civilizations that were mining gold a little later in the Bronze Age were in Spain and in Ireland. We know of the possible claims and mines that this gold was being found, and we have found artifacts there as well. We know that most of these folks were most likely doing this the hard way, with manual labor and some stone and bronze tools. They weren’t very advanced at this point, especially no heavy machinery. Perhaps some levers, pulleys, and trebuchet technology to bust apart the stone. The Romans however started using hydraulic methods, including ground sluicing and the very interesting hushing methods. This was the first large scale gold extraction in the history of gold mining. We know at this point that the mines and mining were under the control of the governmental state, but it’s possible that the mines were permitted to be used by civilians by lease at points.
Gold Currency in the History of Gold Mining
Gold was the currency of the time in Rome, with coins being made as the medium of trade and exchange. Gold was even the main reason the Romans invaded Transylvania in the 2nd century CE. Later in around the 9th to 10th century CE, gold operations began in Egypt, Nubia, India, Armenia, and more led by the Roman Empire Justinian. In India the kings began mining themselves during the Gupta period and later in the Vijayanagara Empire.
Later in our history of gold mining the discovery of gold in Witwatersrand ultimately led to the founding of South Africa as a result of the Second Boer War. Time continued on and more gold began being found in many countries. Official estimates say the total production of gold in the world has been just at 5 billion ounces of gold. With gold now above $1650, that is quite the bit of pocket change! Go find your piece now!