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Cerro Minado, Huércal-Overa (Almería).

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Abstract

The old mines of Cerro Minado, near Huércal-Overa (Almería), were irregularly operated, chiefly for copper, since Ancient times up to the early 1980’s. The mining works exposed mineralized zones, located in dolomites in contact with phyllites, rich in secondary species of Cu, Co, Zn, and Ni. Several incomplete texts presented some minerals, like Arana (1972), Viñals et al. (2004) and Gröbner et al. (2006). This paper is the first to present the mining history, the geology and a description of all the minerals of the locality (around 80). Beforehand, the first results of our studies on minerals were published in Viñals et al. (2010). Our studies globally permitted the identification of 32 new minerals for the locality, including 13 "first descriptions" in Spain, to our knowledge : auriacusite, belloite, bobkingite, capgaronnite, eglestonite, gerhardtite, glaucosphaerite, juanitaite, luanheite, nantokite, paraschachnerite, reevesite and schachnerite. Cerro Minado is the richest erythrite locality in Spain, and the best worldwide for bobkingite.
AFM Le Cahier des Micromonteurs n°121 3-2013 3
Cerro Minado, Huércal-Overa (Almería)
Georges FAVREAU, Christiane EYTIER, Jean-Robert EYTIER et Nico ESCANILLA
Résumé
Les anciennes mines de Cerro Minado, près de Huércal-Overa (Almería), ont fait l’objet d’une
exploitation sporadique depuis l’antiquité jusqu’au début des années 1980, principalement pour le cuivre.
Ces travaux miniers ont exposé des zones minéralisées, au sein de dolomies au contact de phyllites,
caractérisées par une abondance de minéraux secondaires de Cu, Co, Zn et Ni. Divers textes fragmentaires
ont présenté quelques espèces minérales, et on citera notamment Arana (1972), Viñals et al. (2004) et
Gröbner et al. (2006). Le présent article est le premier traitant de l’historique de la localité, de la géologie et
présentant l’intégralité des espèces minérales (80 environ). Il a été précédé d’une publication des premiers
résultats de nos études sur les minéraux dans Viñals et al. (2010). La totalité de nos études a permis la mise
en évidence de 32 nouveaux minéraux pour le gisement, dont 13 sont des "premières descriptions" en
Espagne, à notre connaissance : auriacusite, belloite, bobkingite, capgaronnite, eglestonite, gerhardtite,
glaucosphaerite, juanitaite, luanheite, nantokite, paraschachnerite, reevesite et schachnerite. Cerro Minado
est la localité espagnole la plus prolifique en érythrite, et la meilleure localité mondiale pour la bobkingite.
Mots-clés : Cerro Minado, Almeria, Espagne, mines, cuivre, cobalt, érythrite, bobkingite.
Abstract
The old mines of Cerro Minado, near Huércal-Overa (Almería), were irregularly operated, chiefly for
copper, since Ancient times up to the early 1980’s. The mining works exposed mineralized zones, located in
dolomites in contact with phyllites, rich in secondary species of Cu, Co, Zn, and Ni. Several incomplete
texts presented some minerals, like Arana (1972), Viñals et al. (2004) and Gröbner et al. (2006). This paper
is the first to present the mining history, the geology and a description of all the minerals of the locality
(around 80). Beforehand, the first results of our studies on minerals were published in Viñals et al. (2010).
Our studies globally permitted the identification of 32 new minerals for the locality, including 13 "first
descriptions" in Spain, to our knowledge : auriacusite, belloite, bobkingite, capgaronnite, eglestonite,
gerhardtite, glaucosphaerite, juanitaite, luanheite, nantokite, paraschachnerite, reevesite and schachnerite.
Cerro Minado is the richest erythrite locality in Spain, and the best worldwide for bobkingite.
Keywords : Cerro Minado, Almeria, Spain, mines, copper, cobalt, erythrite, bobkingite.
... This very brecciation has allowed the primary paragenesis to suffer an intense oxidizing and carbonating alteration. At Cerro Minado more than 100 types of minerals have been identified (Favreau et al. 2013), although the principal mining product of the Sierra de Almagro was iron. Nonetheless, as well as iron ores, we can recognise various sources of copper; among the most prominent are native copper, malachite, cuprite, olivenite etc. ...
... In this range, the opencast mining of Cerro Minado is well known, with evidences of prehistoric works (Fig. 6). Domergue (1987) identified some stone mining tools and classified it as a Bronze Age mine, and recent surveys have documented stone peaks and hammers inside the mine The elemental composition of some geological samples reported high levels of arsenic (up to 42%) and the frequent occurrence of sulphidic phases, but the most characteristic feature of copper minerals from Cerro Minado is the typically high cobalt (up to 0.9%) and nickel (up to 1.2%) (Favreau et al. 2013;Delgado Raak et al. 2014). This is due to the co-existence of erythrite [Co 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] and annabergite [Ni 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] with copper minerals and arsenates (Fig. 7). ...
... This is due to the co-existence of erythrite [Co 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] and annabergite [Ni 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] with copper minerals and arsenates (Fig. 7). Native silver and Hg-bearing silver have also been documented in Cerro Minado (Bertran-Oller et al. 2012;Favreau et al. 2013)-which is again consistent with the micro-analysis of some chalcolithic samples. ...
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This paper presents trace element compositions and lead isotope analyses by MC-ICP-MS of 34 copper ore samples from the Internal Zone of the Betic Range, Southeast Spain. Samples were collected during a fieldwork campaign in the mines of Cerro Minado, Pinar de Bédar, Sierra Cabrera and Sierra Almagrera/Herrerías. Most samples are copper oxide minerals from the near surface alteration of the sulfide ore deposits. The aim of the study is to supplement the existing reference data bank on lead isotopic compositions of ancient copper mines from the Iberian Peninsula, complementing this data with trace element compositions. The latter can be useful for discriminating when isotopic overlaps occur. This characterisation will be of great usefulness for provenancing further archaeological materials. Lead isotope ratios range from 18.603 to 20.327 (²⁰⁶Pb/²⁰⁴Pb); from 15.685 to 15.779 (²⁰⁷Pb/²⁰⁴Pb) and from 38.728 to 39.702 (²⁰⁸Pb/²⁰⁴Pb). Data from the literature analysed by TIMS have been also considered for comparison although the larger analytical error is highlighted, especially for isotope ²⁰⁴Pb. The lead isotopic signature of the analysed samples shows three separate isotopic fields. These fields are also consistent with differences in compositions evidenced by principal component analyses.
... The chemistry and mineralogy of the specimens described are consistent with those of ores documented in the surrounding mining districts (Montero Ruiz 1994;Favreau et al. 2013). In particular, three copper deposits may have been the source of the ores identified in Las Pilas: Pinar de Bédar, Herrerías/ Almagrera and Cerro Minado, respectively, c. 10, 20 and 30 km from the site, as the crow flies (Fig. 1). ...
... An absolute date, MAMS-18508 3905 ± 21 BP (Delgado Raak et al. 2014, p. 30) confirms its exploitation during the Copper Age contemporaneous with the occupation of several sites in the area such as Almizaraque, Campos or Las Pilas. The elemental composition of some geological samples reported high levels of arsenic (up to 42 %) and the frequent occurrence of sulphidic phases, but the most characteristic feature of copper minerals from Cerro Minado is the typically high cobalt (up to 0.9 %) and nickel (up to 1.2 %) (Favreau et al. 2013;Delgado Raak et al. 2014, p. 19)-a trait also shared with some samples from Las Pilas. This is due to the co-existence of erythrite [Co 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] and annabergite [Ni 3 (AsO 4 ) 2 ·8H 2 O] with copper minerals and arsenates. ...
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Big narratives on the role of metallurgy in social change and technological innovations are common in archaeology. However, informed discussion of these issues requires a contextualised characterisation of metallurgical technology at the local level in its specific social and technological contexts. This paper approaches early metallurgy in Iberia from a technological perspective. We focus on the site of Las Pilas in the Vera Basin (Mojácar, Almería, Spain), where the whole metallurgical chaîne opératoire has been documented in situ through archaeological excavation of a third millennium bc context. The study includes microstructural, mineralogical and chemical analyses of ores, slag, technical ceramics and finished artefacts, as well as domestic pottery used for comparative purposes. These results are discussed with reference to the archaeological context and evidence for other domestic activities and crafts. Our aim is to contribute to better characterise the early metallurgical tradition of Southeast Iberia, paying particular attention to specific technological tools, knowledge and recipes that may allow future comparative approaches to knowledge transmission or independent innovation debates. For this particular case, we demonstrate the direct production of arsenical copper in a low-scale, low-specialisation, low-efficiency set up that involved the crucible smelting of complex oxidic ores in a context that suggests associations with cereal roasting and, indirectly, with basket and pottery making.
... The primary deposits of copper, cobalt, silver and mercury are found filling a dense network of fissures which is a consequence of, amongst other factors, the brecciation of the dolomites, what has allowed the primary paragenesis to suffer an intense oxidizing and carbonating alteration. More than 100 types of minerals have been identified at Cerro Minado (Favreau et al. 2013) including native copper, malachite, cuprite, olivenite, etc. Elemental composition analysis revealed the high levels of arsenic, cobalt and nickel, due to the coexistence of erythrite and annabergite with copper minerals and arsenates (Murillo-Barroso et al. 2019). ...
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El papel de la metalurgia en las comunidades de la Edad del Cobre del Sureste de la península ibérica es una cuestión recurrente en la investigación arqueológica en Europa oc­cidental. A partir del análisis de isótopos de plomo y ele­mentos traza de restos arqueometalúrgicos, este artículo aborda la organización territorial de la producción meta­lúrgica durante la Edad del Cobre (3100-2200 cal aC) en la cuenca de Vera (Almería, España); la región con las primeras evidencias metalúrgicas en Europa Occidental. Este artículo incluye el estudio de materiales de los tres principales asentamientos con actividad metalúrgica en la zona (Las Pilas, Santa Bárbara y Almizaraque), así como algunos objetos metálicos de estos y otros sitios (La Encan­tada I, Loma de Belmonte y Las Churuletas 1). Los resultados sustentan un modelo de producción re­gional a pequeña escala mediante el cual los asentamientos explotaron varios de los recursos de su entorno cercanos (hasta 30 km en línea recta). Se priorizaron las mineraliza­ciones ricas en arsénico y otros elementos, incluso cuando otras fuentes eran más accesibles: para el caso de Las Pilas, la explotación de las fuentes de Pinar de Bédar en lugar de las de Sierra Cabrera, más cercanas al yacimiento; y para los casos de Santa Bárbara y Almizaraque, las fuentes de Cerro Minado. La posibilidad de que tanto Almizaraque como Las Pilas también explotaran los minerales de Herre­rías, aunque en menor medida, permanece abierta. La exis­tencia de redes de intercambio más amplias queda reflejada por los datos de los objetos, a partir de los cuales se puede inferir una mayor movilidad.
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