2014 Volume 54 Issue 5 Pages 1085-1092
The quest for silver through antiquity encouraged a succession of major developments across a variety of technologies. Silver and its minerals occur in a variety of ores, but rarely in more than trace amounts such that in order to discover and extract them various special technologies had to be developed, resulting in the first separation of small quantities from the fourth millennium BC. Through the first millennium BC there was a steady increase in the demand for silver, much accelerated by the introduction of coinage from the Mediterranean to South Asia that led to the major developments in all aspects of mining technology. The continuing demand led to new technologies to extract silver from copper and to recover metal from smelting debris.