Ancient Mining and Smelting Activities in the Wadi Abu Gerida Area, Central Eastern Desert, Egypt: Preliminary Results



Old mining and smelting features in the Abu Gerida area have been studied using field observations, microscopy and SEM–EDS to detect the ores that were exploited in antiquity. There are two groups of shafts in the area. The first group encloses secondary copper minerals and is associated with glassy slags containing copper prills. The other group is associated with hematite that was extracted and transferred to a smelting station to the west of the mining site, where iron slags and charcoal fragments are found. These slags are composed mainly of wüstite, fayalite–kirschsteinite and traces of metallic iron. Pottery fragments from this area were dated to the Ptolemaic Period, which may be the age of iron exploitation. Copper might have been exploited earlier.