Lavrion Mines

Lavrion Mines

 

(also Laurion, Laurium), mines in ancient Greece on Mount Lavrion (Attica), famous deposits of silverlead ores. First worked in remote antiquity, the mines became the property of Athens in the sixth century B.C. They were leased to private individuals for short terms. Part of the income went to the treasury and part was distributed among the fully enfranchised citizens of Athens. The exhausting labor was carried out by slaves, whose numbers reached 35,000 in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. There were uprisings of the slaves of the mines in the second and first centuries B.C. The Lavrion Mines were abandoned in the first century A.D. Mining was renewed only in 1873 and still continues.

REFERENCES

Drevniaia Gretsiia. Moscow, 1956. Pages 249–51.
Gluskina, L. M. Review of S. Lauffer, “Die Bergwerkssklaven von Laureion,” parts 1–2, 1955. Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1959, no. 3.
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After a brief but intense phase of legal/political controversy in the 1860's and early 1870's between the Greek government and western European interests, the victory of the latter in 1873 resulted in the "French Lavrion Mines Company" to exploit the ore reserves still in the ground.
(1994) Minerals of the Lavrion Mines. Athens: The Greek Association of Mineral and Fossil Collectors.