Uralian ore sleuths


ISSN 0536-1028 (Print)              ISSN 2686-9853 (Online)  
УДК 63.3(470.5) DOI: 10.21440/0536-1028-2021-8-82-91



Introduction. The paper studies of the activities of Uralian ore sleuths from the 17th to 18th century. Ore prospecting in the region at this time developed independently and at the same time as geology and other mining sciences. The phenomenon of ore sleuths is therefore a fundamental premise for understanding the peculiarities of Ural mining culture development.
Research objective is to consider the emergence of the category of entrepreneurs-ore sleuths and ore producers from the peasantry, their legal status development, relations with the state-owned industry and the mining administration.
Methods of research include the concept of diffusionism, one of the components of which is the dissemination and adaptation of basic industrial technologies and, as a consequence, the development of new industrial sectors and socio-economic relations in the agrarian region.
Results. Ore sleuths, as an understudied aspect of the region’s industrial development, have been investigated. They were the first to locate ores and minerals, to discover the most famous deposits. From the second half of the 18th century they focused on the quest for gold. It has been established that since the 1730s some miners became a special legal category of persons who conducted the affairs based on a decree of a central or regional authority. “Honorary” decree on exemption from factory work, communal duties, and military service, giving a freedom of movement was the purpose of ore sleuth status acquisition and a prerequisite for keeping it. The ore sleuth status was not always used for its intended purpose. Ore sleuths often traveled to fairs and handled a business. Edicts and decrees appointing the ore sleuth’s status have been identified. It is shown that ore prospecting in the 17–18th centuries developed independently and at the same time as mining sciences.

Keywords: ore sleuths; the Babins; mining culture; mining; the Urals; 17th century; 18th century.



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