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The History of Mining: The events, technology and people involved in the industry that forged the modern world by Michael Coulson

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7. The Eastern Mediterranean and the Near/Middle East

Apart from Egypt, a giant in ancient times, other important and prosperous states were located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and some of them like Crete and Mesopotamia accumulated considerable quantities of gold. This gold was largely under the ownership of the royal houses, as it was in Egypt, underlining the idea that wealth in these early times was significantly in the hands of kings and princes.

Crete and Mesopotamia were insignificant gold producers so their gold would have come from neighbouring states such as Egypt, indicating an active trading environment in that part of the world. Crete, which was a substantial sea power, would have obtained gold from the northern Aegean ...

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