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Aurum, Gold

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AURUM.
109
and also if the earth below be impregnated with gold. The dry and barren hills of Spain, on which nothing at all grows, are forced by this internal treasure to be productive. That which is extracted out of the shafts is called ' Canalicium' or else ' Canaliense:' it is incorporated with lumps of a white stone, but not in the same way as it sparkles in the Lapis-lazuli, the Thebaic-stone, and in other gems, but in filaments embrac­ing the particles of the quartz. These ' channels' of the veins ran irregularly along the sides of the shafts, hence the name ' Canaliense.' The ground is kept up by wooden props. The ore got out is pounded, washed, roasted, then ground to dust. This powder the miners call ' Apitascudis,' the silver that is sepa­rated from it in the furnace they term its ' sweating.' The dross cast off by the fire, in all metals, has the name of Scoria. In gold-smelting this dross is again ground fine and melted. The crucibles are made out of ' Tasconium,' that is to say, of a white earth like pipe-clay, for no other would stand the fire, the blast, and the burning metal.
" The third method surpasses the fabled exploits of the giants. By driving adits to a vast distance they undermine the hills by the light of lamps. These lamps serve also to measure their spells of labour, and for many a month they do not see the light of day. This method they call ' Arrugise.' The ground over­head often cracks, gives way, and buries the miners, so that it would seem a less dangerous task to seek the purple dye and the pearl from the bowels of the deep : so much more dangerous have we ourselves made the earth ! They leave arches at close inter­vals to support the superincumbent mass. In both methods of mining they come upon a flinty rock : this they break through by means of fire and vinegar; but more frequently, as that makes the mine too stifling by the smoke and heat, they cut through it with iron crows weighing a hundredweight and a half each, and carry off the fragments of rock upon their shoulders, by night and by day through the dark, and hand them over to those stationed next; the farthest of all see the daylight. If the hard rock seems too extensive, the miner follows its side and works round it; and yet mining in this hard rock is considered the easier of the two, for there is an earth made up of a kind of clay mixed with gravel
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King. Natural History of Precious Stones.