The mine

GruvanHitting the nail on the head! You know this means to do something exactly right. Nails are always useful – you need a hammer and nails when you build a house, for example. The question is: How were nails made in the old days?


Well, first you had to look at the mountain rock to find iron ore. If you found iron ore in one place, you would break it off, then follow its way into the mountain. That’s how mines came about. Mining iron started in the 13th century – that’s 800 years ago! Before that, iron was made from red soil or bog ore from swamps and lakes.


In the beginning, the mines weren’t very deep. When you had come down a bit into the mountain, water would often start to seep in. When it rained, a lot of water poured into the pits. The miners then had to carry the water in buckets, climbing up and down the ladders. The iron ore was carried up the same way.


If there was too much water in the mine, it was impossible to continue there, so the miners had to start all over again in another pit. An open mining pit is called an opencast mine. If the mine was too deep and too steep, the rock wall could cave in. Yes, those sorts of accidents were not that unusual in the past.