28. February 2014 to 28. September 2014

Silver paths between Orient and Occident

Charlemagne and Harun al-Rashid. Two charismatic medieval rulers, two major powers, two leading figures of a new era. For all their differences, there are also many parallels between the two: their structures, forms of government, and canons of values. Both rulers mark a high point for the peoples of their empires, not just in terms of power politics, but also in terms of civilization.

Between Aachen and Baghdad – 5000 km apart – a brilliant, dynamic tapestry of arts and sciences unfolds. Within the framework of the exhibition, the silver mining industry is used as an example to show different technologies which can be found at the same time in the Frankish and Abbasid empires. For example, while Frankish miners in Melle (France) used fire-setting to extract minerals, the Persian miners in ar-Radrad (Yemen) used only hammers and picks.

A comparison between the two technological and social contexts allows us to draw conclusions about the historical development of silver mining from an archaeological perspective.