Prehistoric and historic mining in Afghanistan
The mineral wealth of Afghanistan is great both concerning ores of all metals used in antiquity and early medieval times and ornament stones as well. Lapislazuli was exploited since 6000 years and exported more to the west than to the south (Pakistan, India). Whereas first blue beads already occur around 4000 in Egypt, its main need and use happens during the 3rd millennium BC in Mesopotamia and Syria and reaches already the Aegean at Troy. For that period or some time later (2nd mill. BC) copper production is proven in the now remote and deserted area of Afghan Sistan by "miles and miles of slag" (Dales/Flam 1969, S. 20), but the provenience of the copper minerals is yet unknown. Gold and tin occur in many placer deposits but their exploitation cannot be dated. More information exists for the early medieval silver production reported by many Islamic travellers or cosmographs. To Yakut we owe the best description of metal mining of the whole medieval period, both in Europe and Asia; aspects of the early Islamic mining law regulations become visible. Records of the famous Afghan rubies mainly are found in poems and legends and they are really present in crown jewels from Europe and Asia.