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I was just curious about the history of gold mining contraptions?

How long have gold pans been in use?Who invented them?

What did the Romans and other ancient people use to get gold?

-Tom

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Pans and sluices are recorded back as far as we have history on the subject, and yes the Romans used pans and sluices. The Golden Fleece is thought to possibly have been a sheep’s hide used to line and capture gold in a sluice box.

From De Re Metallica, by Georgius Agricola, First Latin edition 1556, picture of gold pan and sluice box in use. Not any different than early scenes in California 300 years later.

gold-pan-sluice-box-de-re-metallica-wikipedia-commons.jpg

 

Interestingly the first English translation was by Herbert Hoover, who later went on to be President of the United States. It also is one of the first written accounts to describe dowsing. It is also interesting that one of the first things discussed in the book are the environmental impacts of mining. Things we think are new to our times have been discussed for centuries if not millennia. The translated text is below but for as easy overview skip to the Wikipedia article at bottom.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38015/38015-h/38015-h.htm

Wikipedia - about De Re Metallica

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3 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

The Golden Fleece is thought to possibly have been a sheep’s hide used to line and capture gold in a sluice box.

I also had found articles that stated the same thing, but one of them said that the sheep had some hair growth (length) on them. The length of hair was heavy then shorter towards the end of the sluice.

With all the different stories I have read on this I just don't know which one to believe, but I would think this would be close to what they would have done.

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It's legend and nobody knows so you can believe whatever you want. :smile:

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This article describes a gold pan developed by the ancient Mayan civilization:

https://www.keeneeng.com/pamphlets/goldPan.html

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why did we humans go to such trouble to recover the yellow metal in the 1st place I wonder? Thanks for the history lesson.

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And a panning question?

Why do the bigger bits of gravel work their way to the surface as we pan instead of sinking? 

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On 1/10/2020 at 9:37 PM, tvanwho said:

And a panning question?

Why do the bigger bits of gravel work their way to the surface as we pan instead of sinking?

Isn't it just about density?  Big pieces of gravel are typically (at least in the US Midwest) limestone with a specific gravity around 2.7.  That's kind of typical of common rocks/minerals, including quartz.  Magnetite and hematite are in the 5.2 - 5.3 s.g. range.  Native metals (and especially the noble metals we all lust for) are much higher.

 

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Maybe Steve knows the answer to this question? I sure don't understand it?

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Rocks don’t always float to the top. Many sink. It just depends if they are dense or not and the composition of the finer material. And panning involves washing off the light stuff, leaving rocks behind.

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