Ancient Economies

    The belief that the neolithic was a time of isolated peaceful hunter gathering groups who worshiped their gods to the exclusion of any other activities is single faceted.  Without discounting any previous research that deals with the spiritual nature of these peoples, what ever they did or did not believe is of little concern here. What  they did rather is the focus of the following collection of information that attempts to paint an interwoven complex network of mining, production, shipping and trade that spanned the globe.  Megaliths connected this world, they were the avenues by which ancient humans traveled and exchanged goods along with ideas to one another.  They provided navigation and sometimes storage and even housing and protection.  They were manifestations of all the human activities we still practice today.  The neolithic to modern times is but a small portion of our entire history's span.  To imagine we have changed so much since the neolithic is to ignore the span of tens or hundreds of thousands of years before in which have been "modern man." 

 " The new diet of settled farmers - predominantly vegetarian, with meat now an occasional luxury - results in one small but significant development. Salt becomes an important commodity in human trade.

A physical necessity of human life, salt exists in sufficient quantity in a diet of milk and of raw or roasted meat. It is not present in vegetables, grain or boiled meat. Agriculture in many areas of the world (freshwater districts without mineral deposits of sodium chloride) only becomes possible if a trade in salt is established. As a result salt features in many of the most important trading systems of the world. The caravan routes crossing the Sahara are a prime example."

Read more:

"A Kuwaiti site has yielded 7000-year-old bitumen slabs thought to be from a seafaring vessel. If the interpretation of the material is correct, the discovery pushes back physical evidence of boats by more than 2000 years and sheds light on what later became trading routes linking two ancient civilizations: those of the Indus River valley and Mesopotamia. A second team is finishing a controversial reconstruction of a younger ship found in Oman."    

 "Ancient Mesopotamian texts speak of trading with at least two seafaring civilizations - Makkan and Meluha - in the neighbourhood of India in the third millennium B.C. This trade was conducted with real financial sophistication in amounts that could involve tons of copper."

 "Copper was mined in this valley as early as the Chalcolithic period (c. 3500 B.C.), making them the oldest known copper mines in the world.... copper ingots produced here were transported elsewhere to be made into tools. Copper was a very important metal in the ancient world because of its use in bronze. Over 10,000 mining shafts have been found in the Timna Valley"
Courtesy of

       "It would be difficult to overemphasize the importance of copper in the Ancient Near East, from the days before the Giza pyramids were built (pre-Bronze Age), all the way down to the emergence of Israel (early Iron Age). Egypt's rise to power at the southern end of the Fertile Crescent was based largely on her control of the local mineral wealth: gold in Nubia, gold and copper in her Eastern Desert, and copper and turquoise in the Sinai.... Copper was the metallic backbone of the earliest civilizations, indispensable in war, industry, construction, and trade."

 By the time of the Pharaohs, however, organized gold mining in the Arabian and Egyptian shields appears to have been well established, and gold was seemingly relatively plentiful compared with silver for in the Code of Menes, the first pharaoh, who reigned in Egypt about 3500 B.C., it was decreed that "one part of gold is equal to two and one-half parts of silver in value"..In the Code of Menes, who reigned in Egypt about 3500 B.C., it was decreed, "one part of gold is equal to two and one-half parts of silver in value."

 The Egyptians mined gold extensively in Sinai, eastern Egypt and Sudan (Nubia) as far back as 4000 years ago. It was from them that the Persians, Greeks and Romans learned the techniques of gold prospecting, mining and metallurgy."