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Borehole drilling has a long history. By at least the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), the Chinese used deep borehole drilling for mining and other projects. The British sinologist and historian Michael Loewe states that borehole sites could reach as deep as 600 m (2000 ft).[3] K.S. Tom describes the drilling process: “The Chinese method of deep drilling was accomplished by a team of men jumping on and off a beam to impact the drilling bit while the boring tool was rotated by buffalo and oxen.”[4] This was the same method used for extracting petroleum in California during the 1860s (i.e. “Kicking Her Down”).[4][5] A Western Han Dynasty bronze foundry discovered in Xinglong, Hebei had nearby mining shafts which reached depths of 100 m (328 ft) with spacious mining areas; the shafts and rooms were complete with a timber frame, ladders and iron tools.[6][7] By the first century BC, Chinese craftsmen cast iron drill bits and drillers were able to drill boreholes up to 4800 feet (1500 m) deep.[8][9][10] By the eleventh century AD, the Chinese were able to drill boreholes up to 3000 feet in depth. Drilling for boreholes was time consuming and long. As the depth of the holes varied, the drilling of a single well could last nearly one full decade.[4] It wasn’t up until the 19th century that Europe and the West would catch up and rival ancient Chinese borehole drilling technology.[10][5] (wikipedia)

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