THE RECORDS OF GOLD-WASHING.
of gold-washing have been traced almost to the prehistoric period. If
any reliance can be placed upon the traditions which have descended to
us, the yield from the auriferous deposits of the ancient world must
have been enormous. It is a well authenticated fact that the Greeks
carried on from the earliest times an extensive commercial intercourse
with the people who lived north and east of the Euxine Sea, and thus
drew largely on the gold-fields of Siberia, from which source the
Gothic tribe of the Massagetas also obtained their wealth. These gold
deposits are supposed to have been situated in lat. 53° to 550 N., and are said to be identical with those worked by the Russians during the present century.
mountains and streams of Phrygia and Lydia yielded gold in ancient
times, and history has familiarized us with the wonders of the
Pactolus,* from whose famous golden sands Crcesus is said to have
derived his wealth. The sands of Asia Minor long since ceased to yield
the precious metal.
a passage in Strabo (book iv. ch. 6, sec. 12), it appears that imperial
Rome was "inundated with a glut " of gold from her northern mountains,
the Alps. Polybius says that in his times gold-mines were so rich about
Aquileia . . . that if you dug but two feet
* Herodotus, book v. c. 101 ; Strabo, book xviii. 15