Featured image: A silver Roman Denarius, featuring the likeness of emperor Marcus Aurelius. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Paper: Silver isotope and volatile trace element systematics in galena samples from the Iberian Peninsula and the quest for silver sources of Roman coinage
Authors: Jean Milot; Janne Blichert-Toft; Mariano Ayarzagüena Sanz; Chloé Malod-Dognin; Philippe Télouk; Francis Albarède
The Roman Empire was a superpower thousands of years ago, and with great power comes great (fiscal) responsibilities, including minting the money. To mint silver coins, the Romans needed vast amounts of silver, which historians and archeologists believe originated in the Iberian Peninsula, or present-day Spain and Portugal. However, the geologic origin of that silver is unknown as the depleted mines were abandoned long ago.
Continue reading “Silver Doesn’t Grow on Trees: The Quest for the Ores that Formed Roman Coinage”
Featured image: Anti mining protesters in Downtown Lima, Peru. Photo credit: Geraint Rowland on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).
Paper: Citizen science campaign reveals widespread fallout of contaminated dust from mining activities in the central Peruvian Andes
Authors: James B. Molloy, Donald T. Rodbell, David P. Gillikin, and Kurt T. Hollocher
At the heart of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, one of the highest cities on Earth, is an enormous open pit mine. People have been mining at the Cerro de Pasco site since pre-Incan times, but after silver was discovered there in the 1630s, it became one of the world’s richest and most heavily worked mines.
Continue reading “Citizen science project identifies extensive mining pollution in central Peru”