Analysis of the medieval development of mining laws and settlements in the Saxon Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge)

Mining formed the Ore Mountains over centuries. The earliest documentation of mining in the Freiberg region comes from c. 1168 with the discovery of silver ore deposits.

Miners, families and labourers moved to the region, and the rapid settlement left its mark on the landscape. The different phases of influx of the population can be traced from the first camp-like settlements in pit houses, to the construction of permanent houses and eventually the development of municipal structures. Some villages dating from this period have long since been abandoned (e.g. Treppenhauer near Sachsenburg), but others grew into cities still existing today (e.g. Freiberg).
Historical and archaeological research benefits from the use of modern techniques of field measurement which offer new ways of exploring old traces of mining. Deformations of the ground can be seen on so-called “airborne laser scans”. The LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) method makes it possible to measure the area. The carpet of vegetation can be “blanked out” or concealed by scanning from different angles. It is possible to prospect even difficult-to-access territories. Medieval mining structures, ranging from collapsed shafts to mine tailings and slag heaps, can be seen in this way, no matter how remote their location.
This new information about physical marks in landscape can be linked with the written sources and can lead to new knowledge – as successfully done in the case of other mining regions (e.g. Tirol, Harz). There are many possible applications, such as linking mining law regulations with the traces in the landscape, and following contemporary descriptions on the basis of the archaeological mining infrastructure and installations that have been found.


For further information please see the annual report 2012 of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum


Contact

Lena Asrih

Advisors

Dr. Christoph Bartels

Prof. Dr. Nikolas Jaspert

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stöllner

Responsible body

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum

Collaborators

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Duration

2011 - 2014



Publications

  • Asrih, L., 2013: Airborne laser scans as a tool for historical science? First methodic considerations using the example of medieval mining in the Saxon Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge/Germany), in: Anreiter, P. et al. (Hgg.): Mining in European History and its impact on Environment and Human Societies. 2nd Mining in European History Conference of the FZ HiMAT. Innsbruck, 7.-10.11.2012, Innsbruck, S. 229–234.
  • Asrih, L., 2013: Analysis of the medieval development of mining laws and settlements in the Saxon ore mountains, in: Metalla 20(2), S. 28–29.
  • Asrih, L., 2013: Zur Problematik des Bergregalbegriffs und zu den Anfängen des Bergregals in der Markgrafschaft Meißen, in: Smolnik, R. (Hg.): ArchaeoMontan 2012. Erkunden. Erfassen. Erforschen // Průzkum, Evidence, Interpretace. Internationale Fachtagung Dippoldiswalde 18. bis 20. Oktober 2012 // Mezinárodní konference Dippoldiswalde, 18. až 20. říjen 2012, Dresden (= Arbeits- und Forschungsberichte zur sächsischen Bodendenkmalpflege, Beiheft 26), S. 153–158. =
  • Asrih, L., 2013: K problematice pojmu horní regál a k počatkům horního regálu v Markrabství míšeňském, in: Smolnik, R. (Hg.): ArchaeoMontan 2012. Erkunden. Erfassen. Erforschen // Průzkum, Evidence, Interpretace. Internationale Fachtagung Dippoldiswalde 18. bis 20. Oktober 2012 // Mezinárodní konference Dippoldiswalde, 18. až 20. říjen 2012, Dresden (= Arbeits- und Forschungsberichte zur sächsischen Bodendenkmalpflege, Beiheft 26), S. 158–162.