Uso de mercurio para el beneficio de yacimientos secundarios de oro en época romana. ¿Realidad o ficción?

  1. Javier Fernández-Lozano 1
  2. Antonio Nsue Nnandong
  3. Sofía Rivera
  4. José María Esbrí
  5. Rosa M. Carrasco
  6. Javier Pedraza
  7. Antonio Bernardo-Sánchez
  8. Pablo Higueras
  1. 1 Área de Prospección e Investigación Minera. Dpto. Ingeniería Minera, Topografía y Estructuras. ESTI de Minas. Universidad de León.

ISSN: 0213-683X

Year of publication: 2021

Issue: 69

Pages: 75-78

Type: Article

More publications in: Geogaceta


One of the major controversies in the geo-archaeological study of Roman gold mining concerns the use of mercury (Hg) amalgama- tion for gold concentration in placer-type deposits, where appears as native gold, in the form of small particles or nuggets that accumulate in the sediment. Despite the use and properties of Hg were known in Roman times, few studies have been focused on the conditions un- der which its use was justified in the recovery of gold from placer de- posits. In this article a soil geochemical study has been conducted to confirm its use in the gold recovery process within this type of exploi- tations. To this end, the concentration of Hg was analyzed in sections of the washing channel (agogae), where the gold was extracted. The results indicate that Hg anomalies are associated with the collection and subsequent use of mercury, since they are concentrated in the lower sectors of the mine. This suggests the use of Hg for gold mining recovery in placer ore deposits, shedding light into the metallurgical methods used in Roman times.