How were ancient civilizations, like the Egyptians and Romans, able to obtain so much gold and shape it into intricate shapes?

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I see videos of gold miners using sluices and only collecting little flakes and being satisfied so I’m curious to know what changed either in society or economically.

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10 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gold is precious, always has been. Whenever it was found it would be mined out until there was nothing left.
So all those big deposits are gone, and one of the easiest ways to find gold now is by finding tiny crumbs that are in rivers.
Gold is also a fairly soft metal when pure and can be shaped and carved pretty easily even with primative tools

Anonymous 0 Comments

It was still precious back then, but slavery was commonplace in almost every ancient civilization, so even massive amounts of labour to acquire gold was feasible

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gold is precious, always has been. Whenever it was found it would be mined out until there was nothing left.
So all those big deposits are gone, and one of the easiest ways to find gold now is by finding tiny crumbs that are in rivers.
Gold is also a fairly soft metal when pure and can be shaped and carved pretty easily even with primative tools

Anonymous 0 Comments

It was still precious back then, but slavery was commonplace in almost every ancient civilization, so even massive amounts of labour to acquire gold was feasible

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gold sluicing or panning isn’t usually how gold is produced, but a way of finding gold. It’s highly unlikely that there were the right geological conditions for elemental gold to come together, but only in a small mass (eg a handful of gold flakes), and for that to have come to the surface to be washed downriver at the exact time someone is sluicing for gold.

If you find gold flakes in a river, it is an indicator that a larger source of gold is/was nearby, shedding gold flakes through erosion. You can either try to find and mine it yourself, or you (a prospector) can simply take the flake as evidence that gold can be found in the area and sell that knowledge to a miner.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gold sluicing or panning isn’t usually how gold is produced, but a way of finding gold. It’s highly unlikely that there were the right geological conditions for elemental gold to come together, but only in a small mass (eg a handful of gold flakes), and for that to have come to the surface to be washed downriver at the exact time someone is sluicing for gold.

If you find gold flakes in a river, it is an indicator that a larger source of gold is/was nearby, shedding gold flakes through erosion. You can either try to find and mine it yourself, or you (a prospector) can simply take the flake as evidence that gold can be found in the area and sell that knowledge to a miner.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They obtained large amounts of ores the same way we do today: massive mining operations. The main difference is that today we have machines that can do a lot of the heavy lifting, whereas a few thousand years ago it was all performed by humans (lots and lots of slaves in Ancient Rome) and draft animals. They used advanced techniques to dig tunnels, strip mine the earth, and dig massive quarries. One of the more famous sites is [Las Medulas](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_M%C3%A9dulas), where the Romans employed types of hydraulic mining to uncover gold. The impact on the landscape of the mining activity (called runia montium – literally “wrecking mountains”) still visible to this day.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They obtained large amounts of ores the same way we do today: massive mining operations. The main difference is that today we have machines that can do a lot of the heavy lifting, whereas a few thousand years ago it was all performed by humans (lots and lots of slaves in Ancient Rome) and draft animals. They used advanced techniques to dig tunnels, strip mine the earth, and dig massive quarries. One of the more famous sites is [Las Medulas](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_M%C3%A9dulas), where the Romans employed types of hydraulic mining to uncover gold. The impact on the landscape of the mining activity (called runia montium – literally “wrecking mountains”) still visible to this day.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Today we can collect tiny bits of cold that would have gone unnoticed previously and aggregate it into sizable amounts. Miners sell gold flakes they don’t form them into some artisanal piece. Miners are also out to make money. In many situations, the monarch or ruler wanted told and had a bunch of slaves looking for it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Today we can collect tiny bits of cold that would have gone unnoticed previously and aggregate it into sizable amounts. Miners sell gold flakes they don’t form them into some artisanal piece. Miners are also out to make money. In many situations, the monarch or ruler wanted told and had a bunch of slaves looking for it.