Roman mining was really advanced for its time. The Romans were the first to use sophisticated technology to mine for mineral deposits such as iron, copper, tin, lead or gold. Iron had varied uses. It was used to make tools and weapons. Tin and copper were used to make bronze. Silver and gold were used for jewelry and currency. Sometimes foreign policy decisions were based on the need for mineral resources. For example, Caesar invaded England in part to have access to the rich tin deposits in the country.
There were many forms of mining the main forms being surface mining and deep-vein mining. Surface mining was the most common. Romans would locate veins of minerals on the surface by unleashing a powerful flow of water. They would build aqueducts that sometimes could be very long to bring water from rivers and collect them in large tanks. Then the water would be released from the tanks, this method being known as hushing.
Roman miners used tools such as stone hammers weighing up to 10 pounds, wedges and pointed iron bars that they would strike with their hammers to break the rocks. They used wooden buckets to remove the ore. They also used leather sacks and wore sandals and tunics with leather aprons for protection. They also had oil lamps as it would get very dark inside the tunnel. It is worth noting that miners would sometimes work almost naked when they were deep underground as the temperatures below could be quite high.
Romans also built water or wind-powered mills to crush the ore extract and filter out precious metals such as gold.