Current Exhibits

A selection of our current exhibits

  • Cast copper cake

    It is thanks to a fortunate coincidence that the Mining and Gothic Museum is in possession of a cast bronze cake. This is the name for a by-product of primeval copper processing. The valuable raw material was primarily intended for further processing at the coppersmiths but was also used as payment during the Bronze Age.

    In 2018 a German family salvaged this example after a mountain tour in late summer from a waterhole of the Schwarzleo stream in the vicinity of the Bronze Age mine discovered in 2004.

    Mining activity during the Bronze Age took the form of an open-cast mine; this was proven by excavations by Robert Krauss and Martin Seiwald.

    The family found fragments of large storage vessels made of clay mixed with slag, fine ceramics in the form of a small bowl and almost completely preserved spruce wood shingles, which probably once formed the roof of a living or workspace. Secondary minerals in the form of malachite and azurite can be found throughout the entire early mining site.

    The discovery of the cast copper cake means that the smelting of ores in the mining district of Schwarzleo, while not yet proven, can now at least be assumed.

    The cast copper cake, found in the summer of 2018 in the Schwarzleo stream, weighs 651 g, is oval-shaped and, with a thickness of 1 cm, relatively flat compared to other finds.

    The material is solid and free of slag and charcoal. However, whether it is pure copper or copper alloy in the form of bronze will only be revealed through ongoing investigations.

    Pure copper would secure Leogang as the place of origin, whereas bronze would have been delivered as for the production of mining tools.

    The cast copper cake has signs that it has been at the bottom of the stream for a long time. Sanding sediments have round the edges and in some areas removed the rich green malachite patina down to the metal.

    Thanks to the finders’ great understanding the cast copper cake was donated to the Mining and Gothic Museum and represents an important find for research into Leogang mining.

  • Herrengrund receptacles

    Several of the famous Herrengrund copper receptacles are on show in the cabinet of mountain curiosities at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum.

    Made from cement copper, a by-product of copper extraction from copper-weak ore, these rare treasures are named after Špania Dolina (‘Herrengrund’ in German), a few kilometres north of Banská Bystrica in the Slovak Ore Mountains.

    It was rather by accident that the occurrence of cementation was discovered here in a local copper mine in 1605. If iron pieces are laid in mountain water rich in copper sulfate, basic copper can be removed thanks to ion exchange. At the time this was considered a miracle and the resulting cement copper was made into an array of receptacles by regional silver and coppersmiths before being fire-gilt, often engraved and sometimes decorated with little silver mining symbols.

    Today Herrengrund copper receptacles are rare and sought-after historic mining treasures.

  • Painting of Grundbach

    Very close to where mining administrator, tourism pioneer and painter Michael Hofer worked lies the Grundbach estate.

    This oil-on-cardboard painting by Hofer shows a classic Pinzgau farm with a brickwork lower and timbered upper storey. The larch shingles used for roofing at that time are easy to make out, as are the stones placed on the finished roof to secure it.

    Once again, Michael Hofer proves he has a good eye for the beauties of nature and developing architecture of the Pinzgau farms.

    The picture is the property of the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum and signed ‘M. Hofer’ on the bottom left.

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