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"The Stoffelhäusl" in St. Gertraudi

Knappenhaus | © Fam. Reiter Knappenhaus | © Fam. Reiter

Medieval artifacts in an old miner's house

Martina and Martin Reiter want to preserve for posterity what is probably the oldest surviving miners' house from mining days on the Reither Kogel near St. Gertraudi. According to scientists, the wooden house was built in 1479. Later it was an administrative building, a grocer's shop and even a meeting place for Jehovah's Witnesses. The Reiters once again own the building. According to a dendrochronological report by Dr. Klaus Pfeiffer, the wooden house was built in 1479 and extended in 1676 and 1729. It once belonged to the Faktoramt in Schwaz, an administrative division of the huge mining area between Rattenberg and Schwaz.

Later it came into the possession of Martin Reiter's ancestors, became a small grocer's shop from 1650, which mainly supplied the squires and Inn boatmen with food and tools and was finally sold at the end of the 19th century.

500-year old artifacts found!

Around 1950, the small house was used by the Jehovah's Witnesses as meeting place, later a home for two families and eventually back into the possession of the Reiter family. During floor excavating works, Martin Reiter discovered iron slag and numerous stove tiles which, according to university professors from Innsbruck, Krems and Tübingen, date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Sarah Leib, who is currently writing her dissertation on the subject of "medieval stove tiles in the Tyrol and Vorarlberg", went to the site to see for herself and was impressed by the artistically designed, almost 500-year-old stove tiles. Leib: "This discovery ideally complements my previous research work." Martin Reiter is pleased: "Sarah Leibs' new finds help us learn more about these remarkable pieces." The numerous slag finds in the so-called "Stoffelhäusl" are also very interesting. DI Robert Stibich from the Tyrolean Mining and Metallurgical Museum suspects that a blacksmith also once worked in the Knappenhäusl. "His blacksmith work is probably responsible for the slag.

Other finds: a historic clay pipe bowl, bells, glasses and pottery shards from the 15th and 16th centuries. Martin Reiter: "These finds and the estimation of the house's history, give us completely new insights into the medieval mining history of our area."

The old building has become a hobby...
The Reiter family have made it their duty to preserve this last original miners' house for posterity. Martin Reiter: "Some people can't understand that we dediacte our energy and money into such an old house. But we all have a hobby, don't we. Some spend their money on cigarettes or for expensive holidays - we put it into the preservation of a local monument." The commitment to preserving the past will probably only be appreciated by posterity.

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Martina Reiter
St. Gertraudi 24
6235 Reith im Alpbachtal