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by Archaeology Newsroom

A Palaeolithic ochre mine on Thasos

Extracting ochre, the “gold”, as it was called, of the Palaeolithic period, was the earliest mining activity of man and his first acquaintance with metals. The Palaeolithic mines of Thasos have been added to the excavational activities in Europe. The Prehistoric mine on Thasos was located in 1956. The 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Kavala, evaluating the importance and uniqueness of the find, undertook its excavational research on the one hand with the cooperation of the archaeologist G. Weisgerber -from Bergbaumuseum, Bochum-, a specialist in the archaeology of mines and a member of the project “Archaeometallurgic Research on Thasos”; and on the other with the scientific support of the IGSG of Xanthi, represented by G. Jialoglou. During the excavational project only a few mines have been located:

Mine T1 with two galeries, dating from the Later Palaeolithic era. Mine T2 clearly shows that a different technique of striking and extracting the deposit has been applied.

The excavational research carried out in the T3 and T6 mines is limited, therefore their dating as well as that of the mine T2 is not yet possible. The stone forging tools and flint blades found in the mines T3 and T6 indicate that the technology applied in these mines is close to that of the mine T1. The excavational research will probably locate on Thasos more traces of the Palaeolithic men who extracted ochre from the haematite deposits using technology that was advanced for their time.