Medieval mining manual on show at museum

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A MINING manual dating back 450 years is the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield.

The Craft of the Miner, Agricola’s Masterpiece, explores the influence of the medieval mining manual De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, looking at the first edition copy of the ancient mining manual De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola written over 450 years ago.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, looking at the first edition copy of the ancient mining manual De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola written over 450 years ago.

It looks at the author and explains why it was written and how it became such an important manual in mining history.

De Re Metallica was first published in 1556 in Basel, Switzerland and remained one of the most influential texts on mining for almost 200 years.

The book, which is written for mining metal and minerals, is still relevant to the mining of coal and resonates as a ‘masterpiece’ in the industry.

The exhibition delves into mining manuals, self-help and training in mining methods up to the nineteenth century.

There are child-friendly activities such as jigsaws, drawing and colouring and woodcut images illustrating mining life in medieval Germany.

The mining manual book was bought for the Museum, with assistance of the Art Fund in 2010, and is permanently housed in the Museum Library.

The exhibition will be on display in the Museum’s special exhibition space. Entry is free.