Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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Miners Search for Gold in Two Phases of the Gold Rush

In the early days of the Gold Rush, miners practiced “placer mining” along rivers and streams. Miners washed gravel and other sediments in pans and sluice boxes; though tedious, this type of mining did not require expensive equipment and could be practiced by one or two miners working together. In later years of the Gold Rush, after the surface gold had mostly been discovered, mining required expensive and elaborate dams, machinery and explosives to find harder-to-reach deposits. Such equipment and projects required lots of money from investors to set up, making it harder for individual miners to strike it rich. Most miners became wage laborers, getting paid to work for investors.

Source | [In Auburn Ravine, 1852], daguerreotype, 1852, California State Library; and [Riverbed mining scene with fifteen miners including Elmer Bliss], circa 1851-1860, Zelda Mackay pictorial collection, Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley.
Creator | Unknown
Rights | Courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento, California.
Item Type | Photograph
Cite This document | Unknown, “Miners Search for Gold in Two Phases of the Gold Rush,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed March 1, 2024,

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