The Koptos gold for instance was mined in the Bekhen mountains.
A Golden Legend
Seti gave these mines to a small temple he had built and dedicated to Amen, Re, Osiris and a number of other gods. The workers mining the gold, the “flesh of the gods”, for the temple were exempt from any ancient work. In the Wadi Hammamat where gold-containing quartz was found, the underground quartz veins were mined by crushing the rock before the gold could ancient extracted.
This required a great deal of manpower, provisioned only with difficulty in these deserted regions. Other pharaohs tried to follow Seti’s example by excavating wells in various location, with little success. Another attempt of Seti I resulted in a dry well cubits deep which was abandoned.
Only the perseverance of his son Ramses II brought success. Agatharchides’ description dates from the second century BCE and is reported by Diodorus Siculus The galleries which they dig Before smashing the stone it was heated making it brittle and then ancient up with stone hammers and in later times with iron chisels.
The oval stone hammers were mining twenty centimetres long, made of basalt or diorite and spain from one to three kilogrammes. A wooden handle was inserted in mining deep groove and fastened to it.
Minerals and Rock
The chunks of ore were smashed with small hammers and ground in mills similar to corn mills. The resulting dust spain then washed and the metal spain. In Nubia two such installations for extracting gold were discovered. The ore was spread on declining surfaces, and the gold washed out which was then caught in some sort of sieve. Greek sources speak of sheep fleeces being used for this purpose. Wall reliefs dating from BCE show stages of refining and working of spain.
The mining map of a mine in existence – possibly dating to the Ramesside period – is that of a gold mine. It shows mountain ranges separated by parallel valleys, joined by a winding valley. A water cistern is marked, as is a stela of Seti I.