Freiberg Colloquium “Curiosity about the underground – a cave tour in 1535”

Speaker: Dr. Andreas Erb

Today, visiting caves is considered a leisure activity. This was by no means the case in the 16th century. The 25 people from Amberg who made their way into a cave near the Upper Palatinate village of Breitenwinn feared a narrow and dark world full of ghosts and abysses - but also hoped for treasures and discoveries. They left the cave pale and exhausted, and anyone who saw them ran away. They were unsuccessful as treasure hunters, but gathered experiences that ended up under the printing press and produced one of the first ever reports on cave exploration. The book became a bestseller and was reprinted several times. Its fame waned only slightly over the centuries:
Numerous writers of various colours took up their journey into the underworld and named them either pioneers of cave exploration, Doctor Faust's cronies or key witnesses to the existence of giants. Almost all of the 25 Ambergers remained nameless, but became immortal. Their records are still an important source for the history of speleology today, and no less a fascinating document of human fascination with subterranean worlds. The speaker will follow in the footsteps of this expedition and trace both the journey into the cave and the history of its impact.
PD Dr Andreas Erb has been head of the Amberg City Archive since 2021. He studied history, philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Mannheim and completed his archival traineeship at the Dresden Main State Archives. He worked as a consultant at the Freiberg Mountain Archive and the Chemnitz State Archive and was head of the Dessau department of the Saxony-Anhalt State Archive from 2008 to 2021. He has published on numerous topics relating to intellectual, mental and regional history, primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Freiberg Colloquium is a series of lectures by the Saxon State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology, the Saxon State Archives/Mining Archives Freiberg, the Saxon Mining Authority, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, the Helmholtz Institute for Resource Research, terra mineralia and the Geocompetence Center Freiberg e.V.

Location: TU Bergakademie Freiberg, large lecture hall of the Abraham-Gottlob-Werner building,
Brennhausgasse 14 in Freiberg

admission free

Hostorische Zeichnung/Abbildung einer Berghöhle von innen in der oberen Pfalz, Deutschland
Innere Abbildung der Berghöhle bei Bredwinde in der oberen Pfalz


The secret can be explored during the Easter holidays, Ascension Day and Whitsun.

Easter holiday programme: In search of the secret mineral code