Skip to comments.The Man in Salt, Salzwelten, Hallstatt, Austria
Posted on 09/08/2005 10:10:50 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
(Excerpt) Read more at salzwelten.at ...
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To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.The World's Oldest Salt Mine7,000 years of salt mining in Hallstatt. The "Man in Salt" accompanies the visitors on their journey through time at the Salzwelten Hallstatt.
Salinen Austria AG
Since 2002, the "Man in Salt" is the central theme of the re-designed Salzwelten mines. In 1734, a corpse preserved in salt was discovered right in a salt deposit, a contemporary chronicle describing it as "pressed flat and tightly grown into the rock. Clothing and tools were quite strange but well preserved."
The Dachstein-Hallstättersee region has been appointed UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
This honour is certainly closely connected to the salt mining history of Hallstatt that goes back 7,000 years. In the olden days, the miners lived on the elevated plain that you will reach comfortably with the cable-car in a few minutes. The story of the "Man in Salt" is true and we are certain that there still is the chance to find another "Man in Salt" any day.
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A Brief history of the Celts -- MiningIn the year 1734, the body of a man was found in a salt mine near Halstatt, Austria. The man had died in a tunnel collapse many centuries before. The natural preservative characteristics of the salt kept the body in near perfect condition.
by George McCartney
About one hundred years after the discovery of the body, when archaeology was just beginning to be recognized as a scientific study, Georg Ramsauer, the managing director of the mine, became interested in the fledgling science. Though self-taught, he followed all of the proper procedures excavating and documenting over one hundred graves that were part of an extensive Celtic cemetery.
The Celts had mined salt in the Austrian mountains near what is now Salzburg (which means Salt Town) and Halstatt (hal is the Celtic word for salt) for many centuries. Ramsauers cemetery discovery and additional finds in the mines have given us samples of pick axes and shovels used in the mines. Beside the tools, leather bags for hauling the salt and hardhats have been found that date back to the eighth century BC.
The helmets are made of hardened leather. The leather was soaked in water to make it more pliable. It was then shaped and rubbed with salt. After it dried, the leather was hardened to some degree, but not hard enough to provide much protection. The helmet was painted with a shellac or lacquer. Four or five coats of the lacquer would make the leather quite hard. This same technique was used in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to make helmets for firefighters. (Again, we see the inventiveness of the early Celts providing methods and technology to modern man.)
Because salt is a natural preservative, it was widely used by the contemporaries of the early Celts. The salt that they mined in Austria was a major trade product for the Celts.
Just damned interesting.
"Curse of the Red-Headed Mummy" appeared twice? I don't think I knew.
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I'm glad you didn't pepper me with questions. Condiment I know much more than what is in those brief quotes, other than what happened to the remains.
I've toured the salt mine at Salzburg. It's pretty interesting how they used to mine it. They didn't use pick and shovel. They simply flooded a portion of the mine with fresh water, let it sit, drained the brine out of the mine, and then evaporated the water leaving the salt behind. It was a lot less labor intensive than carrying buckets of salt out.
If any of you are ever in that area it's worth the trip. Great museum, fascinating mine and a creepy bone house. Who could ask for more?
Give him a good haircut and wire rimmed glasses, and he'd be a dead ringer for my husband.
BTW, my husband's Y-chromosome DNA results came back from National Geographic -- I can't remember the exact haplogroup, but basically he's "generic white guy."
My mom's mito DNA came back as A2, basically North American Native American, which only confirms what I knew from family history and genealogy and census reports, that great-grandma was 1/2 Chippewa. I guess this means that her mother was Chippewa, and so forth.
I have a hard time getting these people, both extremely intelligent and well educated, to understand about the limitations of this type of DNA testing. They don't really understand why there's not more of all the others thrown into the mix showing up in the results.
Beautiful. Looks like a place I would feel comfortable calling home. Sure would like to see it.
Fascinating ... do they just have a limited amount of space for a cememtery? Is it more efficient to stack up bones in a building?
I recently read a thriller that used the bone house as the focal point of the plot about a treasure buried during the middle ages. Can't remember the name or the author.
I went to the site, read it all and found it facinating that such well preserved remains and artifacts were discovered.
Unfortunately, the ancient remains of the Man in the Salt were given a Christian burial, which, while appropriate for the mid-18th century, probably means there's nothing left of them.
The town cemetery is small (maybe 1/4 acre) and from what I can tell Europe has had a problem with room for their buried dead for awhile.
I watched a documentary a few years back that said medieval Paris got to the point where dead bodies were spilling into basements and the graves of my German ancestors no longer exist cuz they are under the next go around. (I think grandpa gets a stone for about 30 years unless someone continues the upkeep.)
I don't think they actively use the bone house anymore but I can't remember why. I would have no problem with going back to find out!
It's been awhile but I do remember a diagram of the burial plots. They did discovered remains.
But what is really amazing is the artifacts that were discovered and exhibited. I actually enjoyed the Hallstatt Museum more than the British Museum. An archaeological buff's dream.
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