About the book

The book, written more than 450 years ago, describes working methods and processes in metal mining and was the first one to use a scientific approach to mining.

The author was known as Georgius Agricola, a Latin version of his own name, Georg Bauer. He spent twenty years writing the book, which was first published in Basel (now in Switzerland) in 1556, a year after his death.

German mining techniques were advanced in this period and were successfully portrayed in De Re Metallica.

It uses beautiful woodcut drawings to show tools, machinery and also a history of mining. It was published in Latin, which helped to spread German mining techniques far and wide. German and Italian editions followed later. The main English translation of De Re Metallica is by Herbert Clark Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover, 1912. The Museum Library has a copy of this, and of the 1950 edition.


The coal ceramic medallion was produced to commemorate the four-hundreth anniversary of Georgius Agricola’s death in 1955 by the Corporate Coal Ceramic Institute, Hannover-Hannibal Ltd. ©Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

Link to Turning the Page film. This film made by Dr Bonner (University of Huddersfield) shows how the Library team look after De Re Metallica.

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