SILVER mining in antiquity became a dreadfully monstrous business. Galena, a silver-bearing lead ore mined in Europe, mostly in Iberia, became crushed and heated for hours to yield its silver. The activity became substandard but critical: silver became the principle coin of the Mediterranean field, and in particular the Roman world. Romans (or, reasonably, their slaves) labored the mines on an unparalleled scale.
While this silver became crossing arms across Europe, lead fumes from the smelting rose into atmospheric currents that carried them over Greenland, where they settled onto glaciers and had been trapped within the ice. Right here’s where local weather researchers came across them.
No longer the total lead trapped within the glacier comes from silver mining, but noteworthy of it does. Primarily based mostly mostly on these lead levels, researchers can construct an trained guess concerning the intensity of silver production in western Europe.
Sources from antiquity are beefy of news of politics, intrigue, and battle, but in most cases sparse on the crucial aspects of day after day lifestyles—noteworthy much less national accounts. And whereas Rome’s historical past is successfully-documented, that of Carthage and Phoenicia is virtually unknown. These records present a recent window onto the workings of the extinct economy. Few historians would maintain long gone to Greenland to stare for insight into the Mediterranean world. Nonetheless it looks it became there all along.