The discovery, around 4000 BC, that metals can be smelted from ores, gave rise to systematic mining in prehistoric times, for example, in the Middle East, but also in central Europe and other regions. Not just ore but also rock salt was mined. Mining acquired economic and political significance in antiquity.
Written records of mining in Germany date from around AD 970. Following the heyday of central European ore mining in the Middle Ages there was a period of stagnation in the 13th and 14th centuries, due partly to technical difficulties such as draining the mines. It was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that miners had the technical means of exploiting deeper seams. Later, ore mining lost some of its significance, while coal (as a source of energy) and salts (raw materials for the chemical industry) became more and more important.
The 19th century saw a rapid development in the mechanization of mining, continuing in the 20th century thanks to the increasing automation of the extraction and haulage and hoisting processes.
The mining section of the museum consists of an itinerary roughly 400 m long. Some three quarters of this are underground and provide a realistic impression of the atmosphere in a mine. It shows mining techniques from the 16th century to the present and gives an impressive picture of the conditions below ground. The mine extends over three levels, linked by narrow steps and slopes. We regret that access is not possible for wheelchairs or pushchairs/strollers.