A sluice box was a labour-saving improvement over gold panning, and used the same principles of water and gravity. A sluice box – sometimes called a “long tom” – was a long narrow box usually made out of wood, lined with a series of wooden riffles or ridges. Sluice boxes were anywhere from half a metre to three metres long. The box was placed in a shallow part of the stream and tilted downhill slightly. Gravel from the stream bed was shoveled into the upstream end of the box. The flow of the water washed the lighter sand and silt over the riffles, along the length of the box and back into the stream, while tiny flakes and nuggets of gold were caught in front of the riffles. At the end of the day the contents remaining between the riffles of the sluice boxes would be emptied into a bucket. This material was much enriched in gold but still had to be panned out. It was much less labour-intensive than panning everything that had been dug up at the start of the day.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
1860 - 2013
Nova Scotia, CANADA
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

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