The Ore Transportation Paths

If one follows along the Bruchchaussee in the direction of the Maltermeister Tower one crosses through an area in which deep ruts in the forest floor to both sides of the roadway can be seen: overgrown relics of old ore transportation paths on which ore was transported down the mountain and firewood and construction timber were transported up it. From the shaft locations around the tower they run down into the town and to the smelting plants in the northern foreland.

Where the smelting locations in Oker could be reached directly, the route to the plants on the Grane and Innerste Rivers went through the town: through the Claus Gate into town, along the Berg, Forst, Schreiber and Bäringer Streets, out the Vitis Gate and from there out into the foreland. Other routes went over the Auerhahn to the smelting locations in the Upper Harz, but these would probably not have played an important role in ore transportation from toward the end of the Middle Ages onward. The other routes on the Rammelsberg also lost their importance after the reforms introduced by Christoph Roeder drastically changed the ore extraction practices: it no longer was brought above ground at the shaft locations but rather 80 metres deeper on the transportation gallery finished in 1804.

Transportation was carried out on one- or two-axle horse-drawn wagons whose iron-clad wheels sank deeply into the subsoil where it was not sufficiently protected by earth. Road repairers had to move into action when the ruts became so deep that the wheel axels or hubs were in danger of hanging up on the sides of the ruts. They chiselled the slate away from the middle and the sides of the ruts. As the transportation on the slope took place for hundreds of years and many wagons were in transit simultaneously, the number of ore transportation paths increased to incalculable numbers. If one hikes through the terrain today--in the meantime overgrown by forests--one can imagine a view of the Rammelsberg completely different from that of today.

From the time at which the Roeder transportation gallery had been put into use and the ore tipped in heaps at the storage yard--there where today the administration buildings stand and the plant courtyard lies--the ore was transported from the Rammelsberg at this point. The ores which were to go to Oker were also transported through the town from this point on: through the Claustor gate into town, along the Breite Straße and back out through the Breite Tor (Broad Gate).


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