Legendary emerald mines have been found in eastern Egypt, where they recently excavated an ancient brewery. Archaeologists are preparing for excavations, which should reveal how the precious stones were mined in the ancient era.
The mine was found on the territory of Roman-Byzantine settlement Mons Smaragdus. About two thousand years ago Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy wrote about the mines. The deposits of the precious stones were later forgotten. They were rediscovered in the XIX century by the French, but then serious scientific research was not done there. The next attempts to study the legendary mines date back to the 1990s, but were also quickly curtailed. They were resumed again in 2018 and 2020.
Then scientists were able to excavate three ancient buildings: an administrative building that may have been used as a temple, a strictly religious building, and the Six Windows complex, associated with the extraction of minerals.
There were dwellings and storehouses. Nearby were underground structures, where researchers have documented several locations with evidence of beryl mining. A variety of this silicate material is emerald: a gem of the first order.
Scientists have been able to prove that gemstone mining was active in ancient Egypt, associated with religious cults. This is evidenced by many artifacts: incense pots, coins, ritual figurines, bone amulets.
Excavations will continue in the coming years. Archaeologists want to find out how ancient mines were arranged and how people extracted minerals.