Skip to Content

The Heritage of Mines and Mining


The Heritage of Mines and Mining
14-16 April 2011, Innsbruck, Austria

From pre-historic times to the present, the Earth has been mined for a vast variety of minerals and geological materials. The metals and stones extracted from under the earth’s surface have defined historical periods, helped to create towns and cities, stimulated economies, patterned international trade routes, been at the centre of conflicts, have shaped communities and have permeated a great deal of social and cultural life.
From simple holes in the ground to vast industrial underground and overground complexes, and from coal to diamonds, mining has shaped landscapes and lives.

When resources run out, or when the costs of extraction have become prohibitive, mines close and we are left not only with the physical structures of mining but with extensive social, cultural and environmental legacies.
Within the developed world, the transition from productive to consumptive economies continues to raise questions not only about how we deal with the material remains of mining, but with the processes of social and economic change and with more intangible notions of collective memory forged in human activities underground.

The focus of this conference is upon the heritage of mining and the extractive industries; the physical sites and the social legacies left on the Earth’s surface.
Some former mines, mining landscapes and communities have gained heritage status and have become popular tourist attractions while others lie abandoned as pertinent and problematic markers of a changed world.

This international, multidisciplinary conference seeks to critically examine the powerful and on-going fascination with mining and how mining heritage now plays an important role in wider agendas of economic and cultural development.

Indicative themes of interest to the Conference include:
• Histories and ethnographies of former mining communities
• Issues of preserving and managing mining heritage sites
• Mining for tourists ­ visitor experiences of mining heritage
• Interpreting and representing former mining activity
• Legacies and linkages with the contemporary mining sector
• Mining labour - mobilities and mining diaspora
• Memory, identity and belonging in former mining communities
• The languages of mining communities

For further details on the conference please visit the conference’s page at
Or send email to:

2015 - European Industrial and Technical Heritage Year


European Industrial and Technical Heritage Year
Année européenne du patrimoine industriel et technique
Jahr des Industriellen und Technischen Erbes
Anno del Patrimonio Industriale e Tecnico Europeo
Año Europeo del Patrimonio Industrial y Técnico

>>to the campaign