Mining facilities during the Hallstatt Period

During the Hallstatt Period horizontal mining halls were created which followed the salt veins in the rock. Some of these halls reached enormous dimensions

The mining halls

In the Bronze Age, shafts were driven vertically down the mountain in search of the rich bands of salt. Now, however, the miners cut horizontal adits to follow the course of the salt veins. The pattern of Hallstatt Culture mining appears highly regulated. It seems that the deposit was opened up and an extensive infrastructure erected within just a few decades. Salt winning seems to have been started at the same time.

The mine galleries were now of huge dimensions. The bestinvestigated of these, between the Kilbwerk, Kernverwässerungswerk and Stügerwerk is at least 170 m long, 5 to 27 m wide and up to 20 m high, that is to say the volume of 15 sixstorey houses in a row.
In order to hollow out the high mining halls, it is likely that the miners gradually worked their way up step by step.

No platforms, which would indicate a different form of mining, have so far been found and we do not know if these mining levels were cut-in longitudinally or transversely. The only fully excavated cross-section of a mine forming part of the Eastern Group in Hallstatt shows nine tunnels on top of each other. The tunnel height of 2 meters was needed so that miners could reach the floor and the roof. The cross-section is 20 m high and 15 m wide.

(Reschreiter, H. – Kowarik, K. – Loew, C.)