European Gold History

Acient Europeans and gold

Methods of gold washing were known in Central Europe 2500 years BC. Both the economic and cultural influence of gold was significant through the Bronze Age, the Roman Iron Age as well as the Middle Ages. The search for gold was major cause for the Roman conquest over Europe. The Romans established numerous gold washing camps in the Alps, France and Spain. One of the major sites,La Bessa, was situated by the river Elvo in Northern Italy. 

In 1771 the children of the Czech village of Podmokly found a bronze couldron filled with 45.2 kilos of celtic gold coins and an arm ring. This treasure, probably an offering to the gods, was buried between 65 and 55 BC. 


Medieval gold washing tools

The Golden World in Gold Prospector Museum displays a unique collection of medieval gold washing tools. This collection consists of about 30 items and pieces of equipment, crafted by special joiner Juhani Lahdelma, based on the drawins in “De Re Metallica” by Georgius Agricola. This is the first text book on geology with detailed descriptions and measures of gold washing tools. 



One of the major motives for explorations out of Europe was the search for gold. The destination for the voyages of Columbus, the discoverer of America, was first western Africa, but later, when the rumous of the riches of China reached Columbus, he decided to find a sea route to China around the globe. He never made it to China but gold he did find, indeed. 

Indians of South America were acquainted with gold and the skill and works of their goldsmiths are well known even today. After the discovery of Amarica, large amounts of gold was transported from Peru and Mexico to Europe. This created the myth about “El Dorado”. The largest nugget from the Callahuaya mines is said to have equalled the size of human head. This nugget sunk with the vessel carrying it en route to Spain. Learn more about early explorers from the video below.