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The Eastern Desert of Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports

 | 
Jean-Pierre Brun
, 
Thomas Faucher
, 
Bérangère Redon
, 
et al.

Ptolemaic Gold: the Exploitation of Gold in the Eastern Desert

Thomas Faucher

Texte intégral

  • 1 Scenes of offerings and gold weighing appear regularly in the Theban tombs where Nubians are depict (...)

1The history of the exploitation of gold in Egypt does not begin with the arrival of Alexander in Egypt. Beginning in the pre-dynastic period, miners recovered nuggets from the depths of the wâdis. The exploitation of gold reached a first peak in the New Kingdom, and the mention of gold levies and the results of expeditions are well known especially in the reign of Thutmose III.1 Despite the reserves accumulated by Alexander when he took over the Persian treasures and the part recovered by Ptolemy I, the Ptolemies carried out a series of mining expeditions in the Eastern Desert, in search of the precious metal, following the footsteps of the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom. In this paper, geographical and chronological boundaries of these expeditions will be explored, based on the latest archaeological research, and we will try also to present the most technical aspects of the production of gold under the Ptolemies.

Geological, geographical and chronological context

  • 2 See the presentation of the geology of the region in Brun et al. 2013, pp. 111-141. Geological arti (...)

2The geology of gold has improved considerably over the past 20 years, mainly due to the growing interest of investors and, consequently, the search for new deposits. The occurrences of gold are all in the pre Cambrian shield which lies in the eastern part of the Eastern Desert, closer to the Red Sea (Fig. 1).2 The deposits are often associated with large faults, shear or volcanic rocks. To put it simply, there are two major types of deposits exploited in antiquity. Auriferous quartz veins, where the rock has been extracted either in open-pits or galleries, and alluvial gold, resulting from the erosion of veins, which is found in the wâdis in the form of placer deposits, where the sand is washed to find gold flakes, or where chunks of quartz that have already been eroded are recovered and contain high levels of gold. Locating and exploiting gold deposits by the ancients was facilitated by the almost total absence of vegetation and by the white colour of the quartz, which was clearly distinct from the very dark volcanic rocks.

  • 3 Vercoutter 1959, pp. 120-153. On Punt, see especially Phillips 1997, pp. 423-457.
  • 4 References may refer to the southern part of Egypt especially as the inhabitants of these regions c (...)

3The gold-rich areas are from the south of the Qena-Safaga road to northern Sudan but gold zones extended much further south. The references to Kush and Punt3 refer at least to Arabia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and perhaps even to Somalia and Uganda.4

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Mining sites and presence of gold quartz in the Eastern Desert, according to Boutros 2004.

© All rights reserved

4In the Ptolemaic period, it is difficult to define a chronological framework that clearly delineates the beginning and the end of the exploitation of gold. The latest research on the site of Samut has shown that in the early days of the dynasty under Ptolemy I, at the end of the fourth century BC, expeditions were already taking place in the Eastern Desert. The exploitation continued, presumably sporadically, at least throughout the third and the second century. Archaeological findings have not documented exploitation in the first century BC, however, the few sites excavated do not make it possible to be sure on this point. It is even more necessary to be cautious after the recent excavations, which have shown that dating offered by surface sampling on surveys does not provide entirely reliable data.

  • 5 Suet. Aug. 41, 1-2. On this subject, Suspène forthcoming.

5However, we should not draw hasty conclusions about the golden wealth of the Potlemaic kings. If exploitation was less significant in the first century, this does not necessarily mean that Egypt's kings lacked gold. We must remember this day of August 29 BC, in Rome, when piles of gold were exhibited after Octavian’s transfer of the treasury of Cleopatra, which aroused much excitement as it was carried through the streets of the Roman capital, not to mention the inflation that its influx caused.5

6The exploitation of the Eastern Desert’s mineral resources by the Ptolemies rests essentially on a resumption of earlier works, mainly those carried out during the New Kingdom period. The establishment of considerable resources by the Ptolemies enabled the quasi-industrial exploitation of sites that had certainly not been systematically exploited previously. But contrary to the work carried out under the more or less direct orders of the Pharaohs, the map of mining sites exploited during the Ptolemaic period shows that gold mining was limited to the territory of modern Egypt, and direct traces of Ptolemaic exploitation cannot be seen further south, in Sudan for example.

The forms of exploitation of gold quartz in the Eastern Desert

  • 6 Klemm and Klemm 2013; Faucher 2014, pp. 829-836.
  • 7 Note the pioneering work before them of Hume (Hume 1934-1937); id., 1907.

7The important contribution of the work of Rosemarie and Dietrich Klemm in the 1980s-90s and published in 2013 should be highlighted here.6 The two German scientists, following their exploration work, first in the Eastern Desert of Egypt and then in Sudan, recorded nearly 250 production sites.7 The number is impressive but the interest of their work lies mainly in the fact that the Klemms were able to visit the sites before the great gold rush of recent years. Indeed, the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 opened the doors of the desert and allowed a very large number of people to come and search for gold there. First limited to non-industrial activity, the last two years have seen the use of heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators, which has caused and continues to cause irreversible damage. Just as the Ptolemies did before them, modern gold diggers visit sites already known and exploited in antiquity. The result is a massive destruction of these sites, both of the veins and production spaces, and also of the associated settlements. To give just one example (but they could be multiplied) the site of Barramiya has totally disappeared under the bulldozers of the gold diggers. This phenomenon, which is not merely an Egyptian phenomenon, but an African phenomenon as a whole, has provoked and continues to constitute a major loss for the history of the archaeology of the Eastern Desert.

  • 8 French Archaeological Mission of the Eastern Desert (MAFDO) led by Berangere Redon see in this volu (...)
  • 9 Although excavations have focused more on housing than on mining, see among others: Meyer 1998, pp. (...)

8R. and D. Klemm, respectively a ceramologist and geologist, travelled across much of the Eastern Desert. The main problem faced by the two researchers was their inability, in a significant number of cases, to date precisely the sites on which they were located. They experienced the limitations of surface prospecting. Prior research at the mining district of Samut,8 a single site, Bir Umm Fawakhir,9 has been the subject of archaeological excavations. It is, therefore, difficult to draw a map of the exploitation of gold at the time of the Ptolemies since the proposed dates were often based on lithic material that is extremely difficult to date precisely, and which was used to crush ore containing gold.

9In addition, the studies focused on the exploitation of quartz veins. These exploitations are often widely visible due to the holes that the miners left following the extraction of the quartz, and which attracted the attention of the inhabitants of the region who often served as guides to the prospectors. The exploitation of alluvial gold, which is found at the bottom of wâdis or in placer deposits, is much more difficult to detect. There are often only the huts that sheltered the miners and some millstones and anvils, traces of the work carried out on the spot. The ceramic material does not help either, since it is generally extremely poor, like at the villages of the New Kingdom of Samut el Beda and at the beginning of the Islamic period at Samut North.

10The main characteristic of the production of gold in the Ptolemaic period seems to be work on the veins (without excluding the possibility of an exploitation of alluvial gold) linked to impressive installations and an abundance of resources and manpower. Work seems to be organized there, directed in a more focused way than in other periods, even if we know that expedition, directly controlled by the Pharaoh were launched during Pharaonic times.

The production of gold

  • 10 Marcotte 2017.
  • 11 Diodore, III, 12-14. Peremans 1967, pp. 432-455.
  • 12 Photius 250, 23-29. Engelbert Mveng 1965, pp. 33-39.
  • 13 Micunco 2008. These two texts will soon be translated in a publication on Samut north, forthcoming.

11The originality of the Egyptian gold mines, when compared with others of the same period, lies in the existence of a text describing in an extremely precise manner their exploitation. Agatharchides of Cnidus provides the most detailed description of the chaîne opératoire, a succession of steps that led from ore to gold metal. Agatharchides was probably present in Egypt around 170 BC.10 He wrote a treatise on the Red Sea in five volumes, now lost. His work is known only from passages in Diodorus11 and especially in the Library of Photius, written in the ninth century in Constantinople.12 This last text seems to be the most accurate, the author regularly punctuating his text with “he said,” suggesting that he had direct access to the original.13 I, passages from Diodorus are often used without Agatharchides being specifically mentioned. It is not known whether Agatharchides saw the mines himself (his accounts of Ethiopia are hearsay since he has apparently not travelled beyond Upper Egypt), but the description he makes of their operation is quite precise and extremely informative.

12It would be too long here to repeat the text of Agatharchides. On the other hand, it is interesting to illustrate his remarks through the most recent archaeological discoveries and, thus, to summarize the different steps that ancient miners followed, from the raw ore, to gold ingots.

13The first step, says Agatharchides, is the extraction of quartz:

  • 14 These citations were taken from The Library of History of Diodorus Siculus published in Vol. II of (...)

The gold-bearing earth which is hardest they first burn with a hot fire, and when they have crumbled it in this way they continue the working of it by hand; and the soft rock which can yield to moderate effort is crushed with a sledge by myriads of unfortunate wretches. And the entire operations are in charge of a skilled worker who distinguishes the stone and points it out to the labourers; and of those who are assigned to this unfortunate task the physically strongest break the quartz-rock with iron hammers, applying no skill to the task, but only force, and cutting tunnels through the stone, not in a straight line but wherever the seam of gleaming rock may lead. Now these men, working in darkness as they do because of the bending and winding of the passages, carry lamps bound on their foreheads; and since much of the time they change the position of their bodies to follow the particular character of the stone they throw the blocks, as they cut them out, on the ground; and at this task they labour without ceasing beneath the sternness and blows of an overseer.”14

  • 15 Dubois 1996, pp. 33-34; Téreygeol 1998, pp. 111-113.

14The strongest men, then, were led by supervisors who told them which way to go. The mention of fire-setting, as seen in the text of Agatharchides, is doubtful. No trace of the use of fire (a technique well known in mining in the West)15 is attested in the Eastern Desert and observations conducted in Samut corroborate this. The use of wood, rare and precious in these regions, and the fact that the surrounding rock (around the vein) is friable, leads one to wonder about the merits of this description.

  • 16 Brun et al. 2013, pp. 111-141.

15Traces of exploitation are usually clearly visible, which provides the possibility of locating them on satellite photographs (Fig. 2a and 2b).16 They take the form of large crevasses and demonstrate, through depressions, exploitation of the vein. The quartz veins were visible on the surface. They were first dug in the form of trenches in open air, then in galleries. The various explorations carried out in the Eastern Desert have shown that these galleries do not exceed 15 or 20 metres in depth. These observations are confirmed by the study of the exploitation at Samut North where the deepest traces are due to a resumption of activity in the modern era. There are, indeed, wells on the site of deep mines of some sixty metres. Their openings date from the early twentieth century at a time when the Eastern Desert experienced renewed interest and when British mining companies explored the ancient sites.

Fig. 2a

Fig. 2a

Satellite view of the Samut North site; the exploited vein is clearly visible (NNO orientation, small transverse trenches are modern).

© MAFDO, Geo Eye-1

Fig. 2b

Fig. 2b

Phantom of the quartz vein.

© MAFDO, Th. Faucher

16The discoveries on the site of Samut highlight the description of Agatharchides. Black glazed ware lamps were uncovered, which have a deep reservoir, which allowed the miner to have a significant degree of independence underground, and regularly have engraved letters on them, signalling ownership of the object. At the beginning of the gallery, it was possible to observe a niche dug in the rock that served as a support for the lamp when the worker was at work. Close to the main vein, between two large buildings on the site, excavations identified the remains of a forge. Excavations showed important traces of activity: a thick layer of white ash beneath which stood an oven, a quenching pit and an anvil where the blacksmith could work. At the entrance of this stone hut, a large rock preserved traces of wear and tear of tool sharpening. In addition, at the excavations of Bi’r Samut Fort in 2016, three mining tools were unearthed: a pick, a mallet and a anvil, in iron as Agatharchides indicates (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

Sledgehammer, pickaxe and anvil found in Bi'r Samut.

© MAFDO, A. Bülow-Jacobsen

  • 17 On this point, the texts of Diodore and Photius diverge, Photius, volume VII, Paris, 1974, note 7, (...)

17The second stage involves grinding and crushing of the mineral extracted from the vein. Men over thirty years old17 are responsible for the operation:

Then those who are above thirty years of age take this quarried stone from them and with iron pestles pound a specified amount of it in stone mortars, until they have worked it down to the size of a vetch.

18Again, excavations at Samut provided a significant number of sorting and crushing areas. They are most often seen as areas where the rocks have been removed and where there are small piles of stones. In these areas workers ground the ore. In several places, these areas are associated with lithic material: anvil tables, mortars and pestles. It is probable that iron tools were largely supplemented by lithic tools. They were commonly used as they were cheaper and more accessible.

19In the chaîne opératoire, the following stage is reserved mainly for women and older men:

Thereupon the women and older men receive from them the rock of this size and cast it into mills of which a number stand there in a row, and taking their places in groups of two or three at the spoke or handle of each mill they grind it until they have worked down the amount given them to the consistency of the finest flour.”

20It is a matter of grinding the quartz grains into the form of flour. The finer the flour, the more effective the next step. This step was carefully carried out as we were able to observe it by studying the granulometry of flour found on the site. Indeed, waste from washings found in the Umayyad camp in Samut North are made up of an extremely fine flour, mainly composed of grains of 50 to 100 microns. In the Ptolemaic period, the workers favoured the use of grinding stones with “ears.” The assembly consists of two stones, a dormant millstone, concave and weighing about fifty kilograms (Fig. 4a), sometimes more, and a lighter, convex, loose grindstone, weighing between 10 and 20 kilos (Fig. 4b); the two were most often made of granite. The reciprocating action of the grinding stone on the dormant stone made it possible to grind the quartz grains and obtain very fine flour, despite the simplicity of the operation. The discoveries of such stones are the first sign of mining. Following the study of the site of Samut North, ten millstones were discovered. The excavations at Bir Samut have uncovered almost 600 of them, almost all within the walls of the fort, which demonstrates the industrial nature of these sites.

Fig. 4a

Fig. 4a

Dormant grindstone.

© MAFDO, Th. Faucher

Fig. 4b

Fig. 4b

Grinding stone “with ears.”

© MAFDO, Th. Faucher

  • 18 Klemm, Klemm 2013, pp. 14, 167, 241-243.
  • 19 Brun et al, 2013 p. 122.
  • 20 Redon, Faucher 2016, pp. 7-9.
  • 21 Sidebotham, Hense, Nouwens 2008, p. 219: “Our surveys also found large circular ore grinding facili (...)

21Alongside these individual stones, there are much larger structures used to grind the ore. These buildings have often been interpreted as washeries,18 as the first surveys of the site of Samut had initially suggested.19 However, excavations have confirmed that these structures were mills.20 We are indebted to S. Sidebotham for being the first to have correctly interpreted this structure, as part of their surveys around the site of Compasi-Tel Daghbag.21 Among the examples found around the eastern Mediterranean, the Samut mill is the best preserved (fig 5). It clearly shows the place made for the central hub as well as the track of the wheel that passed over the stones inside the rotunda. The data provided by the excavations of the Samut buildings demonstrate that the operating life of the site was extremely short, not more than a few seasons. The wear of the mills does not contradict this since the traces left by the millstone in the west rotunda are tenuous while it seems that the structure was barely used.

Fig. 5

Fig. 5

The stone mills of Samut North.

© MAFDO, G. Pollin

22After reducing the ore to powder, the miners had to wash it to extract the heaviest particles, by gravitation:

In the last steps the skilled workmen receive the stone which has been ground to powder and take it off for its complete and final working; for they rub the marble which has been worked down upon a broad board which is slightly inclined, pouring water over it all the while; whereupon the earthy matter in it, melted away by the action of the water, runs down the inclined board, while that which contains the gold remains on the wood because of its weight. And repeating this a number of times, they first of all rub it gently with their hands, and then lightly pressing it with sponges of loose texture they remove in this way whatever is porous and earthy, until there remains only the pure gold-dust. there remains only the pure gold-dust.”

  • 22 Even if their state of conservation is often poor, the list of the findings is long enough: Klemm, (...)

23There are few archaeological traces of this washing. For this link in the chain of operation, Agatharchides’ text is more useful than archaeology since no trace of the washing of gold from the time of the Ptolemies has survived. In any event, no sluicing table of the type Agatharchides mentions has been discovered in the Eastern Desert for that period. On the other hand, these structures are known for the Islamic period; from Sudan and Egypt, some of these sluicing tables have survived.22 They are most commonly inclined planes of stone with two basins, for collecting the water. Details such as wooden planks or other materials which might have covered them are unknown. Still, a number of more recent sites have tailings, which are residues from the washings that are found in the form of piles.

24It is possible, in the absence of sluicing tables, that this operation took place in the valley, where water was abundant. In this case, there remains the problem of transporting the flour over large distances, more than 100 km in the case of Samut. Excavation of the site did not answer this question.

  • 23 Micunco 2008, pp. XXV-XXVI.

25We need not dwell here on the condition of miners, since other sources deal with this. Agatharchides notes that “For the kings of Egypt gather together and condemn to the mining of the gold such as have been found guilty of some crime and captives of war, as well as those who have been accused unjustly and thrown into prison because of their anger, and not only such persons but occasionally all their relatives as well, by this means not only inflicting punishment upon those found guilty but also securing at the same time great revenues from their labours.” The dormitories found at Samut confirm the condition of our miners. The drama of their living conditions is particularly highlighted by Photius, and is a recurrent theme in his work.23

Quantification and Provenance Studies of Egyptian Gold

  • 24 Quiring 1948.

26This chain of operations had but one objective, to produce gold, and gold in quantity. It is difficult to know the quantities produced by the Ptolemies, mainly because the vast majority of the sites were exploited before and after the Hellenistic period. However, estimates have been made. For the Samut site, F. Téreygeol and his team estimated the total production of the vein at nearly 100 kg (the calculation is simple: the volume of quartz taken multiplied by its gold content). In a broader context, Egypt would have produced, from time immemorial, nearly 1,700 tons of gold, Africa as a whole nearly 4,000 tons of the 10,000 tons produced in antiquity.24 The share of the Ptolemies in this production would amount to perhaps 300 tons, though it is not possible to be certain of that figure which must be taken as a rough estimate. In an even more global context, this represents only a tiny fraction of the total gold produced to date (186,000 tons up to 2014).

Dissemination of the gold of the Eastern Desert

  • 25 Athenaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophists, XII, pp. 549-550. On the quantity of metal in the Hellenist (...)

27The description by Callixenus Rhodes (quoted by Athenaeus) of the procession at Ptolemaia, contests organized by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, gives us an idea.25 Crowns, statues, and vases of all kinds circulated in chariots pushed by hundreds of men. The temples also possessed a significant part: the obelisks were covered with gold, as well as the statues, statuettes, and various offerings.

  • 26 See notably Olivier, Lorber 2013, pp. 49-150, but also Duyrat, Olivier 2010, pp. 71-93.

28From their gold, we know that the Ptolemies also struck coins, some heavy, such as the mnaieia, which weighed nearly 30 g of pure gold.26 But how can we distinguish amongst all this gold what part comes from the gold found in the crates at the arrival of the Ptolemies, from ancient levies, such as the hundreds of tonnes of gold that Alexander confiscated on his arrival in Babylon and of which Ptolemy recovered a significant share; or from various taxes, especially those imposed on foreign merchants who arrived at the port of Alexandria; or finally from the production of the mines of the Eastern Desert?

  • 27 Blet-Lemarquand, Nieto-Pelletier, Sarah 2014, pp. 133-159.

29The analysis of metal composition has made considerable progress during the last two decades.27 Chemists of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century were only studying the major elements that made up objects and coins, chiefly gold, silver and copper: today researchers can now rely on analytical methods that show very precisely the content of the major elements on the one hand, and on the other hand, trace elements, such as the metals contained in gold in infinitesimal quantities, often close to the ppm (part per million).

  • 28 Duyrat, Olivier 2010, p. 87.

30The coinage struck by the Ptolemies constitutes an important contribution in recent years (Fig. 6). First, the numismatic studies carried out on the different series of the Ptolemies struck until the middle of the second century BC allow us to quantify the gold minted by the kings. Without going into the details of these calculations, one can estimate that several million gold coins were struck by the Ptolemies, representing between 50 and 100 tons of gold. Whatever the calculations may be, studies show that the gold used for minting coins constituted only a small part of all the gold accumulated by the royal treasury. Looking at the supply of gold and these coin series, the recent studies, focusing particularly on the platinum elements preserved in the coins, have shown that two monetary series (the geminal and trychrisa) may have benefited from the “new” gold contribution deriving from the mines.28 We can legitimately think to have come from the Eastern Desert, while the other series were perhaps minted with metal from the treasury accumulated by Alexander.

Fig. 6

Fig. 6

Mnaeion gold portrait of Ptolemy III.

© Th. Faucher

  • 29 Gabolde, Gabolde 2015, pp. 90-92.

31Obviously, we must not neglect successive reuses. We know that, in earlier periods, the treasures of the Pharaohs had already been looted by Assurbanipal and several dozen tons were transported to Assyria, meaning that the gold at that time must have been melted down and a mixture of gold stock from different sources added.29 However, differences are visible, and the characterization of the gold from the gold mines of the Eastern Desert may enable us to know more precisely the origins of certain objects of the Hellenistic kings.

Conclusion

32The Ptolemies, from the time of their rise to power, invested considerable resources to the exploitation of gold in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. The introduction of new workspaces, the organization of work, and technological advances enabled them to re-exploit mines, which had been known for a long time and which yielded substantial revenues. The technology resulting from the knowledge gained, especially in Greece, allowed the Ptolemies to consider their exploitation in an organized way and to move to industrial-scale enterprises.

33The excavations carried out for three years in the district of Samut have brought new knowledge about this organization, and specific information on their chronological framework. There is no doubt that other excavations carried out on mining sites, combined with analyses of metallic composition, will make it possible to compare the texts with the archaeological realities and, thus, to lead to a finer knowledge of the history of the Eastern Desert in ancient times.

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Notes

1 Scenes of offerings and gold weighing appear regularly in the Theban tombs where Nubians are depicted loaded with gold in different forms (ingots, rings, powder...).The most explicit text is inscribed on the south wall of the Annals Hall at Karnak; see most recently Gabolde, Gabolde 2015, pp. 45-110.

2 See the presentation of the geology of the region in Brun et al. 2013, pp. 111-141. Geological articles on specific sites are extremely numerous; for a general overview, see Botros 2002, pp. 137-164; Botros 2004, pp. 1-37. For a general map of the geology of Egypt: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b530648389.

3 Vercoutter 1959, pp. 120-153. On Punt, see especially Phillips 1997, pp. 423-457.

4 References may refer to the southern part of Egypt especially as the inhabitants of these regions certainly acted as intermediaries for the southernmost tribes, cf. Phillips 1997, p. 437.

5 Suet. Aug. 41, 1-2. On this subject, Suspène forthcoming.

6 Klemm and Klemm 2013; Faucher 2014, pp. 829-836.

7 Note the pioneering work before them of Hume (Hume 1934-1937); id., 1907.

8 French Archaeological Mission of the Eastern Desert (MAFDO) led by Berangere Redon see in this volume.

9 Although excavations have focused more on housing than on mining, see among others: Meyer 1998, pp. 258-275. For publication website: Meyer 2011.

10 Marcotte 2017.

11 Diodore, III, 12-14. Peremans 1967, pp. 432-455.

12 Photius 250, 23-29. Engelbert Mveng 1965, pp. 33-39.

13 Micunco 2008. These two texts will soon be translated in a publication on Samut north, forthcoming.

14 These citations were taken from The Library of History of Diodorus Siculus published in Vol. II of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1935.

15 Dubois 1996, pp. 33-34; Téreygeol 1998, pp. 111-113.

16 Brun et al. 2013, pp. 111-141.

17 On this point, the texts of Diodore and Photius diverge, Photius, volume VII, Paris, 1974, note 7, p. 127.

18 Klemm, Klemm 2013, pp. 14, 167, 241-243.

19 Brun et al, 2013 p. 122.

20 Redon, Faucher 2016, pp. 7-9.

21 Sidebotham, Hense, Nouwens 2008, p. 219: “Our surveys also found large circular ore grinding facilities that Diodorus does not describe, at the site of Daghbag.”

22 Even if their state of conservation is often poor, the list of the findings is long enough: Klemm, Klemm 2013, pp. 58-60, 66-67, 97,115, 117, 122, 180-182, 193, 252, 288-290, 296, 301, 319-322, 331.

23 Micunco 2008, pp. XXV-XXVI.

24 Quiring 1948.

25 Athenaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophists, XII, pp. 549-550. On the quantity of metal in the Hellenistic grand royal processions, see Callataÿ 2006, pp. 37-84.

26 See notably Olivier, Lorber 2013, pp. 49-150, but also Duyrat, Olivier 2010, pp. 71-93.

27 Blet-Lemarquand, Nieto-Pelletier, Sarah 2014, pp. 133-159.

28 Duyrat, Olivier 2010, p. 87.

29 Gabolde, Gabolde 2015, pp. 90-92.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1
Légende Mining sites and presence of gold quartz in the Eastern Desert, according to Boutros 2004.
Crédits © All rights reserved
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/, 524k
Titre Fig. 2a
Légende Satellite view of the Samut North site; the exploited vein is clearly visible (NNO orientation, small transverse trenches are modern).
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/, 744k
Titre Fig. 2b
Légende Phantom of the quartz vein.
Crédits © MAFDO, Th. Faucher
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,4M
Titre Fig. 3
Légende Sledgehammer, pickaxe and anvil found in Bi'r Samut.
Crédits © MAFDO, A. Bülow-Jacobsen
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/, 408k
Titre Fig. 4a
Légende Dormant grindstone.
Crédits © MAFDO, Th. Faucher
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/, 600k
Titre Fig. 4b
Légende Grinding stone “with ears.”
Crédits © MAFDO, Th. Faucher
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/, 448k
Titre Fig. 5
Légende The stone mills of Samut North.
Crédits © MAFDO, G. Pollin
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/, 1,5M
Titre Fig. 6
Légende Mnaeion gold portrait of Ptolemy III.
Crédits © Th. Faucher
URL http://books.openedition.org/cdf/docannexe/image/5241/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/, 399k

Auteur

Researcher CNRS, IRAMAT-CEB, UMR 5060 Orléans

© Collège de France, 2018

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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