• Magnetism, maybe?
  • When I first read your question I said to myself there must be,for metallurgy to date back to 6000 BC, the ancients certainly didn't rely on mass spectrometers to identify ore. This is what I found Iron ore can be identified by rust colored bands in the rock as seen here Gold can, at times, be clearly seen in ore Some ores such as Manganese are paramagnetic. In fact the ancient Greeks referred to it as magnes and knew it attracted iron which probably gave us the term magnet.

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