Legal Sources in Mining History and a Letter on Mining Rights by Count Johann von Görz, 1454
The article first deals with the present theoretical and methodological foundations of mining history as part of history as a whole. It is argued that elements of mining history which have emerged in technological, economic and social history should be brought closer together by means of an integrative science. Systematic delimitation is essential in this context because on the fringes of mining history there are diverse spheres of general historical mining research, including such subjects as mining geology, archeometallurgy as the study of scoria, and archeometrics. All these post-modern research trends, which are marked by a deconstructionist approach, act confidently and independently under the guise of a "democratic" scientific system, without accepting any functions of an auxiliary science. Yet a heuristic research strategy ought to assign central functions to history itself.
As part of the basic requirements for the recording of mining history, the article stresses the importance of legal sources for closing existing gaps and providing new insights. A model for the different categories of historical mining laws and rules is presented; initially, it is divided into letters on mining rights, mining codes and inventions. To illustrate the problems connected with the treatment of such sources, a letter on mining rights granted by Count Johann von Görz in 1454 is examined.