Transcript from photo
Already during 1300 Norberg was an important mine district. Earlier lake or bog ore were used, but during the Middle Ages digging for ore was started in the mountains. The mountain ore demanded another type of furnace which could deliver higher melt temperature. A new type of furnace was the solution. One of the earliest furnace in Europe was Lapphyttan. The mine was not situated far from the mine.
In Norberg the ore was not lie so deep in the ground, and it was easy to reach and take up. It was plenty of ore and was not needed to make the mines specially deep. Up to 1600 the average depth were only tenth of meters. When it became hard to take up the ore, or when the open casts became filled with water, just a new hole was made besides. Svinryggen consist of 18 such open casts. They follow the extent of the ore in the mountain and follow in two rows, on the top of the mountain crest.
Horse paths or flat rods
When you walk along the path, the oldest open casts are on the left side. The long and narrow form for the open casts depends on that ore was taken out with a sleigh in winter time. The ore brought up when snow started to fall. The water in the mine were taken up in barrels and leather sacks by hand. In the end of 1700 technical help devices were used such as horse paths and flat rods. The horse paths could be large, build for several animals. Horses were walking in circles and in this way they pulled up the ore. Flat rods were constructions that pumped water from the mine with the help of a water wheel. The force was transferred long way through forests with a system of flat rods. Long wooden bars were connected to a water wheel and when it rotated the bars moved front and back. Take a look at Polhems wheel which is built just near by. It was used to pump water out of the mines from Svinryggen. Horse paths were used far up to 1800. Then steam power came and replaced them at larger mines. Smaller mines used flat rods and horse paths up to 1900. For them it was expensive to use steam power and/or electricity.
Middle Ages ore extracting.
The mines were owned by the land owners together. They were often situated in villages common areas. The owners were farmers and they worked both with iron production and farming. The extracting of ore was bound to it's season and also their need for iron. Every owner had their own work teams with support people and momentary work power.
In autumn all teams worked together to empty the mines from granite and soil. Large amount of fire wood were stored for use when making extracting of ore possible. All extracting took place during late winter. At this time it was easier to keep water away in the open casts. Transportations were made with the help of horse and sleigh.
The mine was divided into separate rooms. Here the different work teams took turns to work. In the evening they started to prepare the fires for the night. The fire wood were thrown down into the mine. It was organized along the walls and fired. Large fires made the granite fragile. In this way it was possible to break ore parts from the wall using crowbars and hammer. The Middle Ages day of working started at 3 o'clock in the morning. Now the mine was cleared from the burned rests, so that the extracting could start. They extracted as much ore they had time for before the teams changed places. At nine o'clock the working day was over.
When enough ore had been extracted it was transported to the foundries. The ore was stored here to the spring when it was time to start the furnaces.
Producing wood coal and ore extracting every owners were responsible, but the furnace they owned together. One employed foundry master was responsible for the work. All ore were taken care in turn for some 24 -hours each.