Mining in Ancient Egypt and Nubia

Reference work entry

After an early period around 4,000 BCE, during which gold nuggets were collected in some Pleistocene wadi (a valley, ravine or channel that is dry except in the rainy season) grounds and perhaps some native copper was also collected in superficial altered copper sulphide‐containing quartz veins, real metal mining started in Egypt from around 3,000 BCE. Until that time tools and weapons in early Egyptian culture were generally based on stone tools such as flint knives, arrow‐ and spearheads, scrapers and axes and hammers of hard stone. The few predynastic copper artefacts, like small tools and fishing hooks, may have been made from such copper sheets in altered copper sulphide‐containing quartz veins but also from scanty imports.

It is not clear whether copper or gold mining started first in Egypt; most probably both started contemporaneously.

Copper Mining in Ancient Egypt

Fig. 1shows the positions of the various copper production sites mentioned in the text. Pre‐ to early‐dynastic...
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