The Rammelsberg houses an ore mine that had been operational for more than 1,000 years. Tracer analysis of archeological samples unearthed as far away as England show that copper from the Rammelsberg mine even dates back to the 3rd century AD. The mine eventually closed in 1988.
We continue to read in Wikipedia: The ore deposits at the Rammelsberg were caused by the escape of hot, metal-bearing, thermal springs on the sea floor in the Devonian period. This formation is referred to as a sedimentary exhaustive deposit. At the bottom of the Devonian sea, two large lenses of ore were formed that were later caught up in the folding of rocks during the Carboniferous period and so lie overturned at an angle in the mountain where they reach the surface.
One of the main problems of mining and particularly in the Harz mountains is ground water entering the galleries. When the floor of the mining galleries reaches levels well below the earth's surface it becomes necessary to pump out the infiltrating water. In the absence of electricity the miners installed giant overshot waterwheels underground to operate the necessary water pumps.
|Giant underground waterwheel (©Wikipedia/pipmaru)|
|The old water galleries of the Röder mine our group walked through |
were rather narrow and sometimes somewhat low
|Red Baron's safety helmet clearly shows the traces where his head had hit the ceiling|
|Archeologist Dr. Klappauf standing in front of his excavation|
|Painting in Goslar's Municipal Museum: Dr. Klappauf treading the bellows |
of an artisanal smelting furnace. In recent years the archeologist has dug out
a few thousand smelting sites in the Harz region dating as far back as the Middle Ages.
Goslar's other highlight, the Imperial Palace, is strongly connected with the mining activity at the Rammelsberg. In 1005, attracted by the presence of silver, King Henry II had his Kaiserpfalz built at the foot of the mountain. It comprised a wide complex of buildings including a large abbey church containing an Imperial Throne and the so-called Krodo Altar both made from bronze in the second half of the 11th century.
|The renovated Kaiserpfalz in the 19th century|
In the second half of the 19th century Goslar's Prussian rulers had the Imperial Palace reconstructed as a national shrine and accelerated the building activity following the foundation of the 2nd Reich in 1871. Hence the former Kaisersaal is decorated with wall paintings commemorating events in German history. Again, Luther's Reformation is one of the key events for Germany's "Prussian" north.
|Luther in Worms: God help me, Amen|
|Apotheosis of the 2nd Reich (©Wikipedia/Jim Steakley)|
|Wilhelm's equestrian statue in front of Goslar's Kaiserpfalz|
|To have a look at the Imperial Throne you must visit the Kaiserpfalz ...|
|... the Krodo-Altar nowadays is on display in Goslar's Municipal Museum ...|
so eventually throne and altar became separated.