Treasures of the mountains: 10,000 years of mining in the Eastern Alps

Treasures of the mountains: 10,000 years of mining in the Eastern Alps

The introduction of metallurgy to prehistoric Europe led to substantial changes in culture and environment. In the 2nd/1st millennium BC, the Eastern Alps saw the emergence of several production sites for metal ore (especially copper ore) which came to have supra-regional importance.

Copper extraction in these areas shows various technological similarities, and suggests the existence of a communicative and economic region that went beyond the inhabitants of individual valleys, and worked together in its own way (e.g. in terms of logistic concepts, the exchange of specialists etc.). Furthermore, the long-lasting development of settlements connected with the extraction of metal ore probably generated economic systems which used similar subsistence strategies over wide areas.
The Eastern Alps were once one of the most important mining regions in Europe. In the metal ages mining in this region developed to a remarkable extent, and in individual mining areas there is even evidence of the development of production centres with pre-industrial characteristics. Regionally, salt mining had particular economic importance. Viewed from a long-term perspective, the development of mining is characterized by phases of expansion, consolidation and regression.

Project manager

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum in Kooperation mit weiteren Institutionen (siehe Kooperation)


Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

Kooperationspartner (siehe Kooperation)


2012 - 2016