Scientists have reconstructed the history of the environment in the vicinity of the town of Kölner Dom, digging up peat bog at Dijon (France) to search for deposits of lead and pollen grains. Their results confirmed some of the theories of historians, said Fabrice Monna from the University of Burgundy: "So far, archaeologists have suspected that here before the beginning of our era was mine, but so far they had no direct evidence."
The excavations are a sad reminder of how long can persist pollution. According to the calculations Monna, about 30% of the lead in the peat bog has been left up to the XI century, and about 50% — to the XVIII century. This means that the current lead contamination persist for millennia. Thus, the lead in the last extracted peat in the XIX century, and the content of lead is still as high as 80 micrograms per gram of peat.
Scientists have found no signs of extraction of natural resources before 1300 BC. The study of fossilized pollen showed that there were growing hazel, beech, oak, and some cereals. Around 1300 BC opens its first lead mine. At the time, lead has been a valuable resource — it was used in smelting of other ores. Adding allowed to lead to lower melting temperature to a level at which it was possible to heat the oven on coal — about 700 degrees. Later lead used for water pipes and other vessels. The opening of the mine was marked by a sharp increase in the level of lead in the turf, along with a drop in the number of pollen from local trees, which seem to have been cut down for firewood smelters. Pollution has reached a peak in the first century BC, after in these places settled Celtic tribe, to scout rich deposits of lead, silver and zinc in the surrounding hills. Another peak in XIX century — the heyday of the Industrial Revolution.
Battery News, 19-01-2004 15:39
See also: Mammoth Found in Siberia, mysterious archaeological finds.