Extraction activities in 5000 B.C.

The first extraction techniques date back to the Neolithic period (5000 B.C.): the stone was extracted mainly with the use of sticks and picks. Around 3000 B.C., in Egypt, a new technique was adopted and it was still used until a short time ago in small caves without modern equipment. It consisted of inserting some wooden wedges into the cracks of rocky walls. Once they were wet, their volume increased and with their pressure they caused the rocks to come apart. This method was used in ancient times also by the Romans. Another technique consisted of inserting iron wedges by hitting them on the top with heavy sticks. At the beginning of the 18th century the use of explosives developed: dynamite was inserted into underground passages inside the rocks. This provoked a big quantity of stones to fall down. However this procedure resulted to be disadvantageous due to the excessive waste of material. It also resulted dangerous for workers.

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