THE EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES
Mining, which had developed along several lines in the Roman Empire, and which continued to flourish in the Eastern Empire, was virtually nonexistent in the west for many centuries. Apart from a little tin mining in England, the only mineral activity that was consistently maintained was that of salt production from pans and springs. Under the Carolingians some small efforts were made to revive iron and lead mining, but metal goods were very expensive. With the expansion of industry and commerce and the increased demand for the precious metals, there came revival in gold and silver mining in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, while in England, tin mining, which is believed never to have quite died out, reached a higher degree of perfection. Copper, sulphur, alum, and various other commodities were also mined, and with the building of the great abbeys and cathedrals stone had to be quarried in every country of Europe.
It will be obvious from the study of these documents that minerals could be worked only as a royal concession, and under strict supervision and regulation, a condition which prevailed throughout the Middle Ages. This possibly, while good at first, held back the full development of the industry, though of more importance in this respect were the primitive tools and forges, and the relative inefficiency of hand labor. Nothing much was done by way of real improvement until the Industrial Revolution.
Salt was obtained by evaporation from marshes, springs, and salt pans on the seashore. These two documents show that two of these