Marie Agnes. The excavation history.
Learn the story behind XVI'th century silver mining.
A phorogrammetry survey of zinc, lead and silver mine located in Bystrzyca, Lower Silesia, Poland

The story of Marie-Agnes

The Marie-Agnes is not only a great overhead diving site, but also a agreat place to learn how mining used to be done in the old days. Check out its fascinating history!

Ore mining in Silver Mountain

Ore mining in the Sowie Mountains area is known primarily from the area of ​​Srebrna Góra. Traveling at the beginning of the 1990s, the less recognized areas of Bystrzyca Górna, Zagórze Śląskie, Dziećmorowice and Walim, we often found lost forests, hollow depressions barely visible among the surrounding vegetation, mounds of crushed rock, sometimes deep hollows and ditches running along the slope and a few well-preserved tunnels. The origin of some such traces is related to the exploration and extraction of silver, lead and zinc ores carried out in this area from around the 16th century. Unfortunately, not all of these objects have been documented in the preserved literature and mining plans, mainly from the 17th and 19th centuries. One of the better preserved objects in this part of the Sowie Mountains, inventoried in 1994, is the adit from Bystrzyca Górna.

First mentions

The first information about mining works in the vicinity of Bystrzyca Górna comes from the mid-16th century, however, they refer to the lead and silver mine located in the valley of the Srebrny Potok (currently Złoty Potok) flowing from Modliszów towards Bystrzyca Górna. The only confirmation of the existence and location of the adit in Bystrzyca Górna is its marking as a closed mining excavation on the geological map of 1924. The mine was probably, like many mines in this area, operated intermittently. It cannot be ruled out that mining works on this deposit lasted from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century.


The exploitation of this deposit was repeated many times, hoping that with the development of methods of ore mining and enrichment, mining would become profitable. On the basis of an entry in the mining register from 1904, the adit in Bystrzyca Górna is considered to be the Marie-Agnes zinc ore mines.


The adit is located by a dirt road on the right bank of the Bystrzyca River. The workings run along a hydrothermal barite-quartz vein containing lead, silver and zinc ores (silver-bearing galena and sphalerite). The vein is crossed by typical Owl Mountains gneisses. The workings were carried out in solid rock without a casing. Their condition is very good. The workings are situated on three levels, connected by vertical shafts. The sidewalks run east-west, along the course of a once exploited vein. Due to the almost vertical fall of the exploited vein, the excavations on all levels (the upper and the two lower ones) were conducted in the same directions. The beginnings of exploitation of the deposit were related to the outcrop of the vein, the recognition of which began with the sinking of the adit, possibly already in the 16th century. While carrying out the works in line with the vein at the upper level of the mine, two pits diverging at an angle of about 35 ° were made, connected by a transverse drainage walkway. The average height of the horizontal workings here is about 1.8 m, and the width is about 1.0 m.

Lower levels

Perhaps, in the 18th century, in order to make the lower part of the deposit accessible, a vertical shaft with dimensions 2.3 × 4.0 m in cross-section and a depth of approx. 6 m. The shaft has wooden shaft reinforcement in the form of beam struts (Fig. 4), to which the drainage pipeline and ladders for miners were attached. The pipeline is made of wooden pipes, approximately 3.6 m long, with an outer diameter of 10 cm and an internal diameter of 5 cm. The wooden elements of the ladder were grooved and pinned without the use of metal elements. Its dimensions are: length 3.2 m, width 34 cm, rung spacing 35 cm (9 cm high and 2 cm thick). Submerged shaft reinforcement elements, wooden drainage pipeline and ladders. The bottom flooded level of the mine is a horizontal, single excavation carried out about 6 m below, parallel to the upper level excavation in which the shaft is buried. The cross-section of the flooded pavement is similar to that of the upper level. From this excavation, another shaft with a depth of about 3 m and a rectangular cross-section, but with a much smaller size than the shaft connecting the two higher levels, was dug. The excavation of the third, lowest level is the shortest and was carried out parallel to the uplands.

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