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Ancient Mining Processes as illustrated by a Japanese Scroll

  • C. N. Bromehead

In the Geographical journal for August 1940 I published a brief summary of the ‘Evidence for Ancient Mining’, one illustration for which was taken from a Japanese colour-print by Hiroshigi of the interior of a gold mine. As a result of reading this article, Dr H. J. Osborne White, a well-known geologist, sent me the scroll which forms the subject of the present paper. It is about 22 feet long and I foot broad and illustrates, in a series of attractively coloured drawings, every process from the extraction of gold-ore in the mine on Sado Island to the minting of refined gold. Mr Matsumoto of the Japanese Embassy kindly examined the scroll and was able to translate most of the captions to the pictures and other writings. Though the archaic script sometimes puzzled him, the fact that his family had been connected with mining for several generations was a compensating advantage.

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1 Mining in Japan (Japanese Bureau of Mines, Tokyo, 1909).

2 William Gowland (1) ‘The Early Metallurgy of Copper, Tin and Iron in Europe, as illustrated by Ancient Remains and the Primitive Processes surviving in Japan’, Archaeologia LVI (1899) ; (2) ‘The Early Metallurgy of Silver and Lead’, ibid, LVII (1903); (3) ‘Silver in Roman and Earlier Times’, ibid. LXIX (1918); (4) ‘The Metals in Antiquity (Haseley Memorial Lecture)’ (Journ. Anthrop. Inst, XLII (1912) ; (5) Metals and Metal Working in Old Japan’, Trans, and Proc. Japan Society, XIII (1915).

3 C. L. Sagui, ‘Ancient Mining Works of Cassandra, Greece’, Economie Geology, XXIII (1928).

4 E. Ardaillon, Les Mines du Laurion dans l’Antiquité (Paris, 1897).

5 W. G. Nash, The Rio Tinto Mine (London, 1904).

6 J. Andree, Bergbau in der Vorzeit (Leipzig, 1922).

7 O. Davies, Roman Mines in Europe (Oxford, 1935).

8 Sagui, op. cit.

9 Davies, op. cit.

10 F. A. Harrison, ‘Ancient Mining Activities in Portugal’, Min. Mag., XLV (1931).

11 Nash, op. cit.

12 T. A. Rickard, Man and Metals (New York and London, 1932).

13 P. H. Sevensma, Les Gisements d’Or de la Region de St. Yrieix (Geneva, 1941).

14 A. Mahr, Das Vorgeschichliche Hallstatt (Vienna, Natural History Museum), 1925.

15 Ardaillon, op. cit.

16 Ardaillon, op. cit.

17 C. J. Alford, Trans. Inst. Min. & Met., X (1902).

18 E. Kaempfer, The History of Japan, 1690-92. Translated by J. G. Scheuchzer, 1727, reprinted Glasgow, 1906.

19 Ardaillon, op. cit.

20 Sagui, op. cit.

21 Davies, op. cit.

22 Davies, op. cit.

23 Gowland, op. cit. 2 (4),

24 Gowland, op. cit. 2 (5).

25 Gowland, op. cit. 2 (4).

26 H. C. and L. H. Hoover, AgricolaDe re Metallica (London, 1912).

27 H. C. Bailey, The Elder Pliny’s account of Chemical Subjects (London, 1929, 1932).

28 R. Campbell Thompson, Chemistry of the Ancient Assyrians (London, 1925).

29 A. J. C. Geerts, Les Produits de la Nature Japonaise et Chinoise (Yokohama, 1878).

30 J. M. Maclaren, Gold (London, 1908).

31 Brough Smythe, Gold Mines of Wynaad and Carcoor Ghat (Malabar). H.M.S.O. 1880).

32 H. C. Hoover, ‘Metal Mining in China’, Trans. Inst. Mines and Metals, VIII (1900).

33 W. A. Wong, Mineral Wealth of China. (Shanghai, 1927).

34 Hoover, Agricola, op. cit.

35 Gowland, op. cit. 2 (5).

36 Maclaren, op. cit.

37 Capt. F. Brinkley, ‘Japan’, in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition.

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  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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