Underground Prehistoric Mining in Europe

Salvador Domínguez Bella

Earth Sciences Department, Faculty of Sciences. University of CadizCampus Río San Pedro, Puerto Real, Cádiz 11510. Spain. Email: salvador.dominguez@uca.es

Cite this as: Domínguez Bella, S. 2009 Underground Prehistoric Mining in Europe, Internet Archaeology 26. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.26.10


In the south-west of Spain, the archaeological site of El Jadramil (Arcos de la Frontera, Cádiz) presents a great number of vertical cylindrical pits and horizontal subterranean galleries, with an estimated chronology of the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC). A new interpretation of underground extractive mining techniques used at the site is presented in this article. The archaeology of the site shows how agricultural societies exploited local raw materials.

A preliminary geoarchaeological study of these mining structures and an aerial survey of the site have been carried out. The geological relationship to the possible raw material extracted from this site and the properties of these materials are discussed.

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Last updated: Tues Sept 22 2009