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Sunnpau Show Mine
Experience 4000 years of copper mining with us! The Sunnpau show mine is part of the Ore of the Alps UNESCO Global Geopark within the St.Veit Museum Association and offers insights into the development of mining from the Bronze Age to modern times.
There is a lot to discover, not only for children: How was the valuable ore mined during the Bronze Age? Whose bones and grave goods were found in the mine? And what did the Romans do in our mine?
Our tour begins in front of the entry to the Erbstollen tunnel, where we briefly introduce you to the history of mining in St. Veit. As early as 4000 years ago, ore was mined here in wedge-shaped depressions. Underground mining began in 1500 BC. When iron processing was discovered around 800 BC, copper lost its importance and with it the mining in St. Veit. It was not until the Middle Ages, around 1300 AD, that copper was mined again, as it was needed as an additive in gold smelting, and it was not until 1875 that the Sunnpau was finally closed down.
Equipped with a helmet and a lamp, we set off on the traces of the valuable metal in the Erbstollen tunnel. Here you will learn how miners drove tunnels into the hard rock with hammers and chissels in the Middle Ages and with gunpowder and dynamite in modern times.
In the Matthiasstollen tunnel we reach the Bronze Age part of our mines. Here you can see how ore was extracted over 3000 years ago using only wooden wedges, stone hammers and fire setting. In the so-called chapel, a dome created by fire-setting, we see a tomb from around 1100 BC. The highlight of the tour is the "great hall", which is up to 10 metres high. It is unique in Central Europe, as prehistoric miners have penetrated so far into the hard limestone and dolomite nowhere else only by means of fire settlement.
We leave the mine over a bridge and when we reach the Bronze Age smelting furnaces, we tell you what happened to the copper ore after it was extracted. It had to be crushed, roasted and melted before it could be made into jewellery or tools.