A Miner's Life - Prehistoric times

Since there are no cementeries in the Geopark Ore of the Alps, we can only fragmentarily reconstruct family life in prehistoric times. Women and children were most likely active in the processing, while the men were busy working underground and with metallurgy. This also included the timber industry and charcoal burning. Keeping sheep and goats was a great necessity for daily life.

Through the cow dung collected to bind flour-fine ore, we also learn about the cattle farming that was already being practiced at that time.

Grain had to be sourced primarily from the climatically favorable Alpine foothills. Women and children likely worked on preparing and acquiring food (pasture farming and pig breeding). In addition to wooden buildings in the direct vicinity of the mines, people also lived in buildings constructed from logs with relatively flat roofs and wooden shingles with stones, which was built above the roasting beds and pit furnaces, likely on the upper floor (right under the roof). Life was certainly difficult, but settlement mounds also indicate a more comfortable family-friendly way of life. There were also simple tent-like huts, especially near the charcoal burners.


The climber's song

This song from the mining industry (in the Ore Mountains) dates back to the 12th century, so it is very old. This song describes the work of the "Steiger", the miners who descended into the mountain to carry out their hard labour and extract the sparkling ores. In the song, the miner describes the relief of returning to daylight unharmed and being able to return home to his loved ones after completing his work.


"Good luck, good luck!

The riser is coming

And he has his bright light

at night

Already lit.

It's lit!

It casts its glow,

and this is how we drive -

at night,

into the mine.

Into the mine,

where the mountain people are,

They dig the silver and the gold -

at night,

into the rock


Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!

Dearest my heart!

And down there in the deep, dark shaft

-at night,

I think yours.

And I return home,

to my sweetheart,

then the miner's greeting resounds -

at night,

Good luck! Good luck!"