Lead, together with gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and mercury, was used technically before the birth of Christ. The Egyptians probably used lead, as well as copper, silver and gold, as early as 5,000 years B. C; the Phoenicians developed the lead deposits at Rio Tinto in Spain in 2,300 B. C. and the Chinese probably made lead coins in 2,000 B. C. Lead deposits in the Mediterranean and in Great Britain were worked in antiquity. Roman water pipes are particularly well known; they were produced by rolling sheet lead (which had been made by hammering) into tubes, and filling the joint with molten lead, thereby forming a weld (Hofmann ). In the early Middle Ages, lead production began in Bohemia (Přibram about 750) and in the Unterharz (Rammelsberg since 968) and, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the lead deposits in Saxony (Freiberg), in the Rhineland and in the Oberharz were discovered.
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