Research Center HiMAT - The History of Mining Activities in the Tyrol and adjacent areas: Impact on Environment and Human Societies


Assoz. Prof. Dr. Gert Goldenberg (Department of Archeology)

Deputy Head

ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Peter Tropper (Department of Mineralogy and Petrography)

Research Objectives

Based on excellent results obtained from the former SFB HiMAT at the University of Innsbruck (FWF-project, 2007 – 2012), the structure of this successful interdisciplinary and international research program could be preserved to a large extent and transferred into a Research Centre RC HiMAT. With further third-party funds the involved disciplines were able to continue their joint research work and to cultivate and to expand the already well established international network.

An essential objective of the RC HiMAT is the reconstruction of technological, social and economic developments of early mining industries in the alpine area, in which Tyrol with its very long lasting mining tradition played an important role as an interface between the cultural areas north and south of the alpine main ridge. Special interest is directed at the two time slices “Prehistory” (Stone Age/Bronze Age/Iron Age) and “History” (Late Middle ages/Modern Age), due to the quality of the available sources (archaeological and historical records respectively). The research activities are focused on the exploitation and utilization of mineral raw materials (geo resources) as well as on the manifold interactions between mining, society and environment. To obtain a significant documentation, analysis and interpretation of the complex mining context it is essential to combine archaeological and historical research with natural and applied sciences (geo- and biosciences, geodesy, geographical information systems, data management …). The aim is also to demonstrate the dynamic processes in space and time and to identify analogies for different time slices.

Beside several third-party funded individual projects (FWF, TWF, ÖAW, SWF) the trinational DACH-project „Prehistoric copper production in the eastern and central Alps – technical, social and economic dynamics in space and time“ may actually be highlighted (FWF/SNF/DFG, runtime 2015 - 2018). This project is also considered as a starting point for the set-up of an international network engaged in the topic „Alpine Copper in Prehis-tory“, which shall bring together research activities from the entire alpine mountain range. Moreover new perspectives can be open up directed towards research activities on geo resources in cultural history in other alpine high mountain areas like the Himalaya and the Andes. First steps and contacts in this direction are initiated.

 Interview with Gert Goldenberg (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units


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