20 euro - Salt Mining

Image of 20 euro coin - Salt Mining | Austria 2024.  The Silver coin is of Proof quality.
Salt Mining, the first of three coins in The White Gold of Hallstatt series, takes us back to a time thousands of years before the Salzkammergut region of central Austria became a popular tourist destination and Mecca for nature lovers. Astonishing archaeological finds have shown that prehistoric Hallstatt was already flourishing, as it supplied half of central Europe with that most essential of substances – salt. A simple and modest mining community only in appearance, prehistoric Hallstatt was highly advanced. At the southern end of the Salzkammergut, the picture-postcard village of Hallstatt lies on the shore of the lake of the same name. Inside the local mountains, salt is found in abundance and, exploited since prehistoric times, the Hallstatt salt mine is the world's oldest. During the Iron Age, salt mining and trade led to the prosperity of the people in and around Hallstatt, which gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, the archaeological culture linked to the people of the Early Iron Age in Europe. As early as 1200 BC, the tools produced for mining salt in Hallstatt were highly sophisticated and cultural exchange with other peoples led to the import of exotic materials such as amber, glass, coral and ivory from as far afield as Africa and Asia. In the mines, the salt has preserved organic materials such as textiles, wood and leather, and artefacts decorated in styles that were widespread in Europe have survived in good condition. The obverse of Salt Mining features a pair of bronze pickaxes found in the prehistoric salt mines of Hallstatt. Rocks and stones symbolising the mines are depicted around the axes and an ornamental design from the Hallstatt culture is shown in the background. In the style of a collage, the coin’s reverse shows a scene in which salt is mined and transported. The figures are inspired by artistic depictions found on bronze vessels from the Iron Age, in particular buckets (situlae). Salt Mining provides a vivid picture of the prehistoric beginnings of a unique cultural and industrial landscape.