Sunday, 11 October 2015

Las Médulas

I saw recently a documentary about Las Médulas and I was amazed with numbers involved in this historic mining!
This postcard was sent by Vanesa, the favorite Spanish of the Portuguese community of the Postcrossing forum :)

Las Médulas

Las Médulas is a historic mining site near the town of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo (province of LeónCastile and LeónSpain), which used to be the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire.
Pliny the Elder, who was a procurator in the region in 74 AD, described a technique of hydraulic mining that may be based on direct observation at Las Médulas:

"What happens is far beyond the work of giants. The mountains are bored with corridors and galleries made by lamplight with a duration that is used to measure the shifts. For months, the miners cannot see the sunlight and many of them die inside the tunnels. This type of mine has been given the name of ruina montium. The cracks made in the entrails of the stone are so dangerous that it would be easier to find purpurine or pearls at the bottom of the sea than make scars in the rock. How dangerous we have made the Earth!".

Pliny also stated that 20,000 Roman pounds of gold were extracted each year. The exploitation, involving 60,000 free workers, brought 5,000,000 Roman pounds (1,650,000 kg) in 250 years. - in: wikipedia

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