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True Stories Of Freiberg Dowsers

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Chapter Summary

'True stories' of Freiberg dowsers show that the formulation of mining science was the product of real struggle in the field, much as it involved new laboratory practices. This chapter analyzes a sample of archival material spanning the first half of the eighteenth century. According to the mine ordinances, the mine master authorized formal digging after mineral earth had been discovered and reported. A report for August 12, 1732 introduces more language and helps us begin focusing on particular well-known dowsers. The first indication that Freiberg was tightening its grip on the dowser from Röthenbach comes in May of 1739. The hired dowser was a hearty miner. Like men who dabbled in natural magic, dowsers assumed control over and even directed the forces of nature.

Keywords: Freiberg dowsers; mining science; Röthenbach



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