There’s myth that there are many goldmines hidden under the surface of Earth. And seems like that is true. Lately, researchers from the University of Salamanca have found 2000-year-old hidden goldmine in the Eria river valley of Leon, Spain.
Las Médulas is the largest opencast gold mine of the Roman Empire. It is located nearby in León. However by using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser system that was attached to an aircraft, researchers have uncovered this 1st century BC Roman goldmine hidden beneath crops and vegetation in northern Spain. It is important to note here that the Romans used to extract gold via this 2000-year-old network of channels and reservoirs.
However, the lasers were beamed at the ground, and the pattern they reflected back was then measured and compared to geographical information to create a visualization of hidden features on the Earth’s surface.
Javier Fernández Lozano, a geologist who worked on the project, told the Spanish language Information and Scientific News Service (SINC), “The volume of earth exploited is much greater than previously thought and the works performed are impressive, having achieved actual river captures, which makes this valley extremely important in the context of Roman mining in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. Unlike traditional aerial photography, this airborne laser detection system allows the visualization of archaeological remains under vegetation cover or intensely ploughed areas. Our intention is to continue working with this technique to learn more about mineral mining in the Roman Empire and clear up any mysteries such as why Rome abandoned such a precious resource as gold from one day to the next.”
The discovery will help the researchers as well as us understand more about how the Romans lived and mined back in the 1st century BC. Researchers have published their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Now, researchers are hoping to use LiDAR to find out more about the Roman mining practices in the area.