Ancient Iron Ore Mines

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Ancient Iron Ore Mines

Postby rich » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:24 am

Not sure if this was posted before or not, but it is dated to Feb. 3, 2008.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 125405.htm

It's about hematite, iron ore mines - both in Africa and South America.

"Iron mining in the Old World, specifically in Africa, goes back 40,000 years. And we know the ancient people in Mexico, Central America and North America were mining for various materials. There isn't much evidence for these types of mines.


My question is - were they only mining it for paint or colors? Seems like a lot of exertion just for the purpose of colors - unless they were also exporting it throughout a large trade network.

Then again - eh.
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby Ishtar » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:05 pm

Hematite was considered to be sacred and used in their funerary practices worldwide, and also in their rock art, Rich.

So if they did have boats, there would have been a thriving worldwide trade in it.
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby rich » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:09 pm

Exactly what I was pointing at - the iron ore mines in SA aren't as old - so if they had enough hematite - it would point to a trade route maybe to an area that would have had it in enough abundance to trade. :D
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby Ishtar » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:17 pm

I think whoever was sitting on the iron ore mines would have been the Saudi Arabia of the times.
Ishtar
 
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK

Postby rich » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:24 pm

I think you're right! :D
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby kbs2244 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:10 pm

It shouldn’t be too hard to decide if they were looking for color or for metal.
How far away is the nearest source of fuel, and is there any evidence of smelting at that point?
There seem to be a number of pre-European up draft smelting furnaces to be found on remote hillsides in the upper Ohio River Valley.
There are iron rich sites nearby.
But not many red ocher rock paintings.
Just like today, you carry the unprocessed stuff no more then necessary.
A pound of iron weighs just as much as a pound of ore, but it is worth a lot more.
There used to be a huge transport industry taking iron ore from Minnesota through the Great lakes.
They took it to Gary, Indiana and Erie, Pennsylvania.
Because those were the points where the coal from West Virginia could be brought at low cost.
If it was for color they could just sift it to get the dirt out of it and use it as was.
kbs2244
 
Posts: 2320
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:47 pm

Postby rich » Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:43 pm

OK - so - if they were mining and smelting it - what would they have used it for in such a large quantity they had to mine it? And if it was for paint or color - the question remains - why in such large quantities it had to be mined? Either way I still see trade - and the question would be "with whom?" And it still would imply a trade route from the traders or the ones traded to - where? Can a route be found that might point to a port? And a possible port in another spot that might show an influx of hematite from other than loal areas?
You know - boats - hematite?
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby kbs2244 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:03 pm

All very good questions.
I have no doubt that it was a very good trade item as a color.
It just shows up too much in too many places to be considered as anything but heavy duty religious.
And I agree we should be looking for ports or trading centers for it to be transferred.
But as a metal it becomes practical as well.
It marked the change we note as a different age in history and destroyed who knows what kind of trade networks based on copper and tin.
kbs2244
 
Posts: 2320
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:47 pm

Postby Beagle » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:34 pm

There is no doubt that red ochre had symbolic and decorative uses. But it was mined in such quantity that it probably had more practical uses as well. We know that red ochre is an effective insect repellent and sunscreen. In some parts of the world that would have been important. There may have been other uses that we are unaware of.
Beagle
 
Posts: 4746
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:39 am
Location: Tennessee

Postby Beagle » Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:38 pm

I spoke with a fellow earlier that says that hematite also made a good glue, which could be used for a wide variety of things.

That's new info for me.
Beagle
 
Posts: 4746
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:39 am
Location: Tennessee

Postby rich » Thu Jun 12, 2008 9:50 pm

Did they say if it's easy enough to make the glue from it and what materials it can bind? - And of course - is it water proof? :D
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby Digit » Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:06 pm

I spoke with a fellow earlier that says that hematite also made a good glue, which could be used for a wide variety of things.


That's a new one! As a long time woodworker I thought I knew all the adhesives from Epoxy to Bluebell bulbs.
I'll check on a woodworking forum and see if anyone knows anything.
User avatar
Digit
 
Posts: 6618
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Wales, UK

Postby Digit » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:41 am

I put this question of Hematite on the woodworking forum that I'm a member of. One chap asked if perhaps a mistake had been made, confusing hematite with a propriety sealent here in the UK called Red Hermatite.
So a little rsearch showed that people seem to use the word hematite and hermatite interchangably for the iron ore.
Further investigation produced this,

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qSRL ... &ct=result

It seems that in NA the red earth was combined with pitch as an adhesive, but much more interstingly, and perhaps more importantly, it was used to sweeten water!
Perhaps our American friends can produce more on this, it would certainly help to explain such widespread mining.
User avatar
Digit
 
Posts: 6618
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Wales, UK

Postby dannan14 » Sat Jun 14, 2008 11:10 am

Digit wrote:It seems that in NA the red earth was combined with pitch as an adhesive, but much more interstingly, and perhaps more importantly, it was used to sweeten water!
Perhaps our American friends can produce more on this, it would certainly help to explain such widespread mining.


Hmm, i'm lost on this one, but then again i'm from an immigrant family. Dad's side got off the boat in the 1920's and Mom's a decade or so before. Living in Northern California does, however, give me access to alot of people whose families were Gold Rushers or other early immigrants to CA. i'll ask one of my co-workers on Monday he has lots of these kinds of answers.
dannan14
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:47 pm

Postby Beagle » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:08 pm

Digit wrote:I put this question of Hematite on the woodworking forum that I'm a member of. One chap asked if perhaps a mistake had been made, confusing hematite with a propriety sealent here in the UK called Red Hermatite.
So a little rsearch showed that people seem to use the word hematite and hermatite interchangably for the iron ore.
Further investigation produced this,

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qSRL ... &ct=result

It seems that in NA the red earth was combined with pitch as an adhesive, but much more interstingly, and perhaps more importantly, it was used to sweeten water!
Perhaps our American friends can produce more on this, it would certainly help to explain such widespread mining.


Hi Digit,
I was able to find this:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16126249

Archeology Department, University of the Witwatersrand, PO WITS 2050, South Africa. wadleyl@geoarc.wits.ac.za

Substantial frequencies of Middle Stone Age (MSA) lithics from Rose Cottage and Sibudu Caves in South Africa have red ochre on their proximal and medial portions. Residue studies suggest that the tools were hafted and that the ochre may be part of the adhesive used for hafting the tools. Replication studies show that ochre is indeed a useful loading agent for adhesive; however, there are other potential loading agents. It is also possible to use unloaded plant resin, but this agent is brittle and difficult to work with. It appears that people living in the MSA had wide knowledge of ingredients suitable for hafting tools, and that they chose different adhesive recipes because of the required properties of the adhesive. Brittle, unloaded adhesive allows a projectile head to disengage its haft and implant itself in an animal; robust adhesive keeps a spearhead safely in its shaft.

PMID: 16126249 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Further studies should be done I think, to confirm these findings, but this could be a big key to the mystery.

Every stone age culture since long before HSS has been putting stones on the end of sticks. If hematite is part of that process, then the mystery is solved imo. 8)
Beagle
 
Posts: 4746
Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:39 am
Location: Tennessee

Next

Return to Anthropology and Primitive Societies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests