logo Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science
  • Headquarters of the Archaeological Museum of the Mining District, Rio nell'Elba.zoom in altra finestra

Museo Archeologico del Distretto Minerario [Archaeological Museum of the Mining District]

The Museum purposes to illustrate the exploitation of the mineral resources of Elba Island from the prehistoric age to the medieval epoch. Starting with the first bronze implements found on Elban territory and continuing with the Etruscan ironworks of the 3rd – 2nd century B.C. recently excavated at San Bennato, the exhibition then presents evidence of the Roman epoch. This is the period of the description of the activity of Elban miners made by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder in his Historia Naturalis (XXXIII, 21, 70): «The miners … quarry the mountains following the tunnels dug by lantern light for long tracts: the time of waking and of rest are the same, and for many months they do not see the light of day … the stones … they break them with hammers weighing about 150 pounds and carry them on their shoulders night and day, passing them to one another in the darkness: thus only the last ones of the chain catch a glimpse of light». The museum itinerary ends with the study of the birth of small ironworks of the Middle Ages, such as the one recently discovered on Mount Serra.


Texts by Elena Fani

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 18/gen/2008