High Medieval Silver Mining and Non-Ferrous Metallurgy in Northern Siegerland, Germany An Interim Report


  • Jennifer Garner Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Forschungsbereich Montanarchäologie, Herner Str. 45, 44791 Bochum
  • Rolf Golze Altenberg und Stahlberg e.V., Auf der Stollenhalde 4, 57271 Hilchenbach
  • Manuel Zeiler LWL-Archäologie für Westfalen, Außenstelle Olpe, In der Wüste 4, 57462 Olpe




Middle Ages, Mining Archaeology, Argentiferous Fahlore, Minting


In northern Siegerland, located in the ore-rich Mittelgebirge region of Germany, a mining landscape based on copper, lead and silver  metallurgy developed in the High Middle Ages. Beginning at least in the 10th century AD, silver-rich fahlore was mined and smelted. The 13th century is interpreted by archaeologists as the height of mining in the region with multiple mines, smelting sites as well as an impressive mining settlement at Altenberg near Müsen (Hilchenbach). At the current state of research, the decline in this high  medieval mining area began at the end of the 13th century. Since 2013, with cooperation partners from Altenberg & Stahlberg e.V. Müsen, the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum and the LWL Archaeologie für Westfalen, new interdisciplinary research has focused  on the prospection and excavation of mines, mine tailings, charcoal pits and smelting sites as well as the re-investigation and re-evaluation of the mining settlement of Altenberg near Müsen. This research, which is still in the initial phase, has already begun to  provide new information on aspects of the development and organization of medieval non-ferrous metal production in this region.