When Martine de Bertereau (who died around 1643) married the alchemist and mining engineer Jean du Chastelet, Baron de Beausoleil, she had long been occupied with the art of mining "that was hereditary in her house". She wrote two pamphlets on mining addressed to the French king and the Cardinal Duke of Richelieu. In her short publications de Bertereau not only treated mining and mineral deposits in France, she also gave a short introduction to the art of finding water and of assessing its quantity and quality. While divining-rods featured widely, she also gave useful practical advice describing some sensible experiments, which she derived from Vitruvius's book on architecture. Her writings thus allow a unique glimpse into craft-skills, which centuries later developed into what came to be called hydrogeology, but which in the seventeenth century were essentially the same as in Roman times, albeit ‘corrupted’ by esoteric practices.

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