THE HISTORY OF IDENTIFYING MINERALS ON THE TERRITORY OF THE FORMER DUCHY OF SIEWIERZ AND THE FIRST GEOLOGICAL-MINING DESCRIPTION AND MAP OF THE REGION
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Change in the mining industry has always been a continuous process, stimulated by a number of historical events and facts. At the beginning of the 19th century, a great number of political and economic decisions were made which led to the launching and development of industrial plants. The current paper deals with the area of the former Duchy of Siewierz, which belonged to the Polish Commonwealth until 1795, when it was incorporated into Prussian Upper Silesia and renamed 'Neu Schlesien' (New Silesia). The advances in geological and mining knowledge of the area at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries were connected with the exploration and opening out of lead ore and coal deposits. One of the first researchers to explore the geology of the region was Christian Leopold von Buch, who identified the range of occurrence of coal-carrying formations of the Upper Carboniferous in the area. He also identified lignite deposits in the vicinity of Zawiercie, Poreba and Blanowice. An analysis of archival materials suggests that the results of exploration of New Silesia conducted by Buch were not widely known and perhaps were deliberately kept secret. Evidence of intensive expansion of Prussian mining authorities comes, among other things, in the form of a manuscript of a cartographic survey by Eisler: 'Plan von der Gegende bei Czelleie, Bendzin, Niwka, Slawkow, und Siewir in Neu-Schlesien, mit cenneca, rin besinelichen Versuch Arbeiten, Stein Kohlen Gruben, alten Bley und Eisen Erz Bauen'. The map is the only cartographic depiction of New Silesia that contains elements of geology. It has an excellent graphical form, it is clear and legible, and it presents a detailed account of settlement, road and watercourse systems. The map is also correct in the use of geographical names. Particular localities are kept distinct, and the spatial arrangement of buildings is presented as well. The map also depicts the location of mills, sawmills and smithies, but above all locates mines of metal ores (lead, silver and iron) in the vicinity of Boguchwala, Mierzecice, Wojkowice, Strzemieszyce and Okradzionów. Special symbols are used to pinpoint areas of former exploitation of those ores (15th-16th centuries).
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