Saxon mine model, Slovakian, c 1700.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model in silver and copper gilt from the mining region of Central Slovakia around Schemnitz (Hungary), now Banska Stiavnica. One of the most important economic centres of feudal Europe was the middle-Slovak gold mining district, which comprised seven independent towns. In the 16th to 18th centuries, the second largest of these was Schemnitz, where new technologies such as gunpowder were used in the mining industry for the first time. During the 19th century, a world-famous mining academy was also founded in the town.