The staggering amount of gold in this land would amaze any historian and investor. It has long been a land rich in gold, with ancient miners doing the traditional methods in exploiting economically feasible sources. The Egyptian culture probably loves and values this precious mineral more than others.
Gold was specially reserved for the elite Pharaohs or those of royalty and vital nobility. An ancient Egyptian royal named Tutankhamun, whose remains have been found in a relatively intact state has his tomb accompanied with gold bars of unfathomable wealth, as well as other lavish goods.
It had no special value hundreds of years ago – financially, that is. Barter was the main form of trading at the time; wherein royal servants were paid in the form of food or other tangible gifts. Now, it’s a highly-valued mineral that helps one get great wealth.
Where Is The Egyptian Gold Located?
Many archaeologists said that massive amount of gold in Egypt came from the mines along the Nile River (the longest river in the world). Some of the tunnels are found in Cairo more than 800 miles away from the south. The source was known as “Nubia,” which is presently part of Sudan.
Nubia is not the only place where the ancient miners looked for gold. There have been more than hundreds of old Egyptian gold works and settlements, the majority being in the desert of the Eastern side. If the Turin Papyrus was correct, then there’d be at least 1,300 mines in ancient Egypt.
Gold Reserves And Mining
Slaves and prisoners in 60 BCE worked under challenging situations, with little water and food, and sometimes none at all, just to find precious minerals. They would receive a beating if they didn’t work as hard as they could.
More than a thousand mining sites can be found in Egypt, which meant an impressive quantity of gold was also being mined and exchanged for different goods. But many archaeologists of today believe that most of the gold was acquired through barter with the “Kushites,” an old civilization who ruled the South of Egypt, rather than from the gold mining of slaves and prisoners.
Uses Of Gold
Barter trade was being observed in the prehistoric times. So why did it matter to the kings and other royal members then, if it had no financial value?
- Gold was said to be associated with the “dazzling,” bright light of the sun, and “Ra,” the sun god Many Egyptians believed that gold was the skin of divine beings, with silver as the bones.
- Gold never shows any signs of discoloration – a fact made evident when archaeologists of this day and age discovered tombs filled with it. Since gold was very “indestructible,” Pharaohs saw it as a heavenly aspect and believed it was linked to unceasing life.
- Pharaohs believed that there was a connection between the numinous and the earth, so they had it used in imperial coffins, or in the statues called “ushabtis,” to help protect their remains even after life.
- Egypt is the land of gold. But even for the Egyptians, it was something exceedingly rare. Thus, possession of this mineral through the hard work of thousands of slaves, are prized.
- Back then, gold can’t be used to buy food. But it was a symbol of outstanding performance to the ancient soldiers, who like to wear gold as badges. It can only be given away as presents to honor, making it a big deal.
Egypt has plenty of gold, but it also has other substantial resources, including 50 million tons of coal, 48 million tons of tantalite, and an estimated 6.7 million ounces of gold. In 1986, the total real value of all the minerals mined was about US$ 18.7 million.
Think of it like this: If you only have one kilo of gold, you’d be US$38,651.63 richer.