kingdom of salt a 7000-year history of hallstatt

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1 kingdom of salt a 7000-year history of hallstatt

2 kingdom of salt a 7000-year history of hallstatt

3 a travelling exhibition at the cutting edge of science Focusing on the newest interdisciplinary research, the exhibition, which was created with expertise and objects from the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria, shows the town of Hallstatt (located in the Austrian Alps) as a cradle of Europe s industrialisation, with rst traces of salt mining during the Neolithic era, more than 7000 years ago! Archaeological objects found in the Bronze Age mines of Hallstatt indicate a previously unknown level of perfection, efficiency, and logistics from the epoch 4000 years ago. The salt in the prehistoric mines of Hallstatt preserve all organic objects: a situation that is unique in the world! The cornucopia of nds from the Hallstatt cemetery is based on salt mining. The European Early Iron Age (8 th to 6 th century BC) is named after this worldfamous location: the Hallstatt period. 4 5

4 exhibition design Six huge Salt Blocks, which can exibly be divided and adapted to any exhibition space between 500 and 800 m 2, give surprising perspectives and create an area of discovery and exploration. Their outside walls also provide show cases containing original artefacts and interactive screens to let visitors access scienti c information on demand. Instead of just relying on conventual textual information in the show cases, the exhibition will also provide audio-guides as well as a printed tour-guide. 6 7

5 Inside each Salt Block is an Ambient Room, which uses ambient sounds, projections, computer animations, hands-on-objects, and even ambient smells to provide the visitors with a total sensory impression. In addition, each Ambient Room surprises the visitor with an exhibition highlight (a unique and outstanding archaeological object). The translucent material of the Salt Blocks allows them to glow in the dark and together with several Salt Splinters used as seats and for decoration creates the impression of walking through salt. 8 9

6 epochs and exhibition highlights Neolithic (5000 BC) An antler pick, stone axes, saline springs and salt cellars. Bronze Age (2000 BC) Sack made of cow skin, leather cap, salt chippings, bast rope, leather palm protectors, wooden trug, and scraper, bronze pick, lighting tapers, wooden vessels, woollen textiles, tread of a wooden staircase. Hallstatt Age (800 BC) Cooking vessels, wooden spoon, bentwood boxes, human excrement, eggs of intestinal worms, leaves of butterbur (prehistoric toilet paper ), and rucksack made of goat skin, fur beret, textiles, nits of a body louse, wooden pick mountings, leather shoe

7 Hallstatt: Centre of Trade (600 BC) Glass jar from the Caput Adriae region, ivory sword hilt with amber inlays, amber necklaces, golden jewellery, glass beads, Hallstatt sword, ceremonial axe, richly ornamented tanged knife, richly ornamented ceramics, bronze vessels, ceremonial vessel of bronze with a handle in the form of two cows, imported ceramic from the South-East Alpine region, Scythian iron axe, antenna-hilted bronze knife The Great Catastrophe (350 BC) Celtic mining tools and equipment (wooden shovel, wooden rod, and leather shoe), organic objects from the Celtic settlement, documentation of the discovery of four mummies in the Iranian Cher Abad salt mine. Today Painted skull from the ossuary-crypt in the village of Hallstatt 12 13

8 topics and contents Salt Block 1: Salt and the uniqueness of Hallstatt Breathtaking landscape of the Salzkammergut Picturesque old mining town World-famous archaeological region World Heritage cultural site since 1997 Topic 1: SALT MORE VALUABLE THAN GOLD Until the 20 th century, salt was one of the most important food preservatives. To own it meant wealth; controlling its trade meant power. The value of salt is shown in the design of ancient containers. In the prehistoric mines of Hallstatt, all organic objects are preserved in the salt: a situation that is unique in the world! Topic 2: HOW DID THE SALT GET INTO THE SEA? Hallstatt s salt was deposited 250 million years ago in a primordial ocean. The salt is in a rock that consists of 62 % halite, 28 % clay, and 10 % sulphate. Topic 3: HOW DID HUMANS DISCOVER SALT? 7000 years ago, humans were attracted by saline wells and settled in the remote Salzberg valley. Stone axes and a pick made of deer antler are indications of early mining activities. Ambience and interactivity Picturesque landscape of Hallstatt (video projection) Ambient sounds and smells Geology and sali cation (interactive animation) Location and structure of various mines (animation) Hands-on: salt The open question: WHY Hallstatt? Scientists still wonder why the remote Hallstatt valley became the rst salt trade center in the eastern Alps. Only a few kilometres away, in Hallein, salt would have been much easier to access

9 topics and contents Salt Block 2: Mining in the Bronze Age 15 th century BC: Fully developed underground mining. Three giant shaft mines extending 100 m underground were in operation year-old intact wooden stairs were discovered in 2003: the oldest in Europe. Their construction and state of preservation are unique! Topic 1: THE WORLD S OLDEST CORPORATION The market for Hallstatt s salt was enormous. The next-largest vendors of salt were located far away in central and southern Germany. Topic 2: TECHNICAL PERFECTION AND MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY In sacks that could be emptied with a single movement of the hand, small salt pieces were transported on broad wooden stairs along vertical shafts. From there they were pulled to the surface in wool sacks using bast ropes. Topic 3: SURFACE LOGISTICS The acquisition of indispensable resources, such as meat, milk, beans, leather, fur, bast, bronze, salt meat, beech and oak wood for tools and buildings. Hatchets found in the high forest of the Dachstein Mountains indicate sustainable forest management through the harvesting of single trees. Ambience and interactivity Working in a bronze age mine (animation) Ambient sounds and smells Hands-on: the unique Hallstatt stairs and a 3 m bast rope The open question: Why was r wood used for tapers? Fir wood tapers are resin-free and thus very difficult to ignite

10 topics and contents Salt Block 3: Mining in the Hallstatt Age 900 BC: The shafts reached a depth of 200 m. New mining strategies, technologies and recycling methods. As opposed to the vertical shafts of the Bronze Age, mining halls extended horizontally, following the course of the salt veins. The mines reached enormous dimensions. Topic 1: SALT MONOPOLY OF THE ALPS Hallstatt was the only large vendor of rock salt in the Eastern Alps. Not until the 6 th century BC did a powerful competitor appear: Dürrnberg, at a distance of 44 km. Topic 2: TRADEMARK SALT HEARTS Heart-shaped salt plates allowed to identify Hallstatt s salt at a glance. This meant that Hallstatt was able to retain its supremacy in the salt business. Topic 3: MINE CUISINE Ritschert was the miners main dish: a stew made of millet, barley, beans and pork. This hearty meal is still part of the cuisine in the Eastern Alps! Ambience and interactivity Cooking in the mine (animation) Ambient sounds and smells Forensic anthropology: musculo-skeletal markers of hard work in the mine on bones of men, women and children (animation) Hands-on: salt heart The open question: Why was everything recycled in the mine? 18 19

11 topics and contents topics and contents Salt Block 4: Hallstatt Global Village Salt bestowed fabulous wealth on Hallstatt: luxurious products from all over Europe, as well as ivory from Africa or Asia, were discovered in the world-famous burial site of the Salzberg valley. Topic 1: LUXURY FROM THE BURIAL GROUND The oldest glass jars from the Caput Adriae (the oldest from north of the Alps), gold, amber and ivory, precious fabrics and exotic food (e.g. wine from the Mediterranean). Topic 2: FOREIGNERS IN HALLSTATT? Burial objects from remote production sites provide proof of far-reaching contacts. Were they gifts or souvenirs of mercantile expeditions? Parts of costumes from the old homeland? Stolen goods or war booty? Ambience and interactivity International meeting point in Hallstatt (video, audio, installations) Hands-on: set of typical hallstatt luxury ceramics The open question: The burials were quite exquisite, but why did Hallstatt economize on gold? Salt Block 5: The End of the Hallstatt Mining Industry Topic 1: CRISES AND CATASTROPHES Disastrous mudslides (Bronze Age mudslide 3200 years ago; Hallstatt Age mudslide 2300 years ago). The Man in the Salt (conserved salt mummy, found in 1734, and subsequently buried in the village cemetary). Topic 2: A NEW BEGINNING Traces of new, large-scale salt mining during the Celtic era. Ambience and interactivity Catastrophic mudslides (video projections) Ambient sounds and smells The open question: Where is the Man in the Salt? Scientists are convinced that the salt mummy found in 1734 was not the only victim of the Early Iron Age mudslide. But where are the other bodies? 20 21

12 topics and contents Salt Block 6: 7000 Years of Salt Tradition and modernism World Cultural and Natural Heritage Topic 1: HUMANS AND SALT The Hallstatt people and salt: Salinen Austria AG the oldest industrial enterprise in Austria; salt as a tradition. Topic 2: ARCHAEOLOGISTS A race against time; archaeology with an expiration date; all the mines are rapidly closed under the enormous rock pressure and only modern mining provides access to the prehistoric galleries. Ambience and interactivity Drill-hole brine extraction and thermal vapour compression as cutting-edge mining technology (video projection) Archaeologists and jackhammers (video projection) Ambient sounds Hands-on: technical solutions to prevent the closing of the mines The open question: What were all these wood pieces used for? The function of hundreds of objects is still unknown will archaeologists have enough time to answer all the open questions? Milestones The exhibition will be shown for the rst time in March After autumn 2013 it will be available to international museums, visitor centres and exhibition halls. Publications and Merchandising Our partner, the Natural History Museum Vienna, will provide a book KINGDOM OF SALT A 7000-Year History of Hallstatt (in German and English). In addition, we will produce a printed information guide (German/English) with the exhibition s content. Contact We are happy to provide any information that you might need. Please contact us at: Museumspartner GmbH Sebastian-Kneipp-Weg 17 A-6020 Innsbruck AUSTRIA Phone: Fax:

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