Early metallurgical sites in South Tyrol: How and where were metallic ores mined in South Tyrol back when “Ötzi,“ the famous Ice Man, and his contemporaries still roamed the world? What is the meaning of the numerous slag heaps found at high altitudes throughout the Alps? Where did the ores originate, and what happened to the metals obtained from them? What evidence can we find today, and what does it tell us? Is there a connection between the mining sites of South Tyrol in Medieval Times and the Early Modern Era? The goal of this project is to answer questions like these concerning early mining activities and metallurgy.
The “Alpine Archeology“ Project focuses on copper mining in the Alps during the Bronze Age. In co-operation with the Agency for Ancient Monuments Found in the Ground, alpine archeological excavations took place on the “Ritten“ in the summer of 1998 and 1999. Later, the project was expanded and, together with the Archeological Museum of South Tyrol (Dr. Günther Kaufmann) continued. Because it is not possible to answer the questions without the help of physico-chemical analysis, additional project partners were included. In the framework of scientific co-operation, Prof. Gilberto Artioli of the Universitá degli Studi di Milano and Wolfgang Müller of the Royal Holloway University of London are now also actively involved.
Hanns Oberrauch: Prähistorische Metallurgie in Südtirol Minaria Helvetica, Sondernummer: 4. Internationaler Bergbau-Workshop. 3. bis 6. Oktober 2001 in Mels Nr 21c/2001.
The “Ritten“ in Prehistory and Early History
On Settlement Processes in Low Mountain Ranges
Dec. 4-5, 2002, Bozen/Bolzano Waltherhaus and Municipal Museum
June 15, 2005: “Il sito fusorio della piena età del Rame di Millan presso Bressanone nal quadro della prima metallurgia dell'area alpina“. Benno Baumgarten: “What Conclusions Can Be Drawn from the Historical Traces of Mining around Brixen/Bressone for Prehistory?“
Fortunately, as new finds (e.g. Gufidaun) are made, more and more specimens are becoming available. Nevertheless, we are dependent upon assistance from private parties. Anyone who has made corresponding observations or found specimens (e.g. samples of slag) is requested to contact Benno Baumgarten at the museum.
An interesting link on this topic: