Woodcut taken from 'De Re Metallica' by Georg Agricola (1494-1555), published in 1556. Agricola was a German mineralogist and metallurgist. He was Germany's first systematic mineralogist, and his 'De Re Metallica' is a valuable and detailed record of 16th century mining, ore-smelting and metal working. This plate shows miners using rope ladders to reach the tunnel or the bottom of the shaft.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library