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Discover the volcanic Eifel region...

VulkaTec is also planning to hold five "Volcano Days" this year for its business partners.

Planned is an eventful program centred on the aspect of volcanism in the East Eifel region.

It all starts at 9.30 a.m. at VulkaTec. A bus will take us to the Museum of Volcanology in Plaidt. This will be followed by a visit to the Roman tufa mines.

We will be eating lunch in the historic cave cellar of the Vulkan-Brauhaus in Mendig.

As the next highlights of the tour, we will witness the modern methods used to recover pumice and lava materials.

By way of conclusion to this interesting and informative day, we will give you a guided tour of VulkaTec, during which our Turbolift system will be presented.

And last but not least...relax with a refreshing beer and delicious grilled meat from our lavagrill. Please make sure you contact us as soon as possible if you wish to take part, as parties are strictly limited to 30 persons on each day.

More information on the East Eifel region: 

Meurin Roman mine
Visit a 2000-year-old stone mine.

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Discover the largest Roman tufa stone mine north of the Alps

Some 13,000 years ago, lava flows and ash clouds from the Laacher See volcano scoured the surrounding valleys. The avalanche of volcanic materials, with temperatures of up to 600°C, left behind a stark moon-like landscape and annihilated all life in its path. Over the succeeding millennia, the volcanic ash became increasing solidified thanks to contact with water, and formed tufa stone.

When the Romans first came to our region more than 2000 years ago, they soon discovered the advantages of white tufa stone as a building material. Tufa stone is still mined today, but at much greater depths. Sadly, modern recovery methods have obliterated many of the original Roman mines. Here the Tassgrube at Meurin is an exception. Visitors now have the opportunity to experience the underground working conditions of the distant past.

A small area of 55 x 45 metres of the ancient quarried surface has been covered by a futuristic steel-glass construction. This protects a small section of what was once the largest Roman tufa mine north of the Alps from the effects of the environment.

Tufa stone
Dark, warm, dusty

Narrow galleries, poor light and dust-laden air were the everyday lot of the Roman miners, who excavated tufa at depths of 4 - 6 metres. It is only possible to appreciate what they managed to achieve under these conditions after personally experiencing the conditions in the passageways they hacked out of the rock.

The roughly hewn blocks were transported on wooden rollers to the shafts, where they were raised to the surface using cranes.


History written in stone
The tufa stone was extracted from individual underground chambers. In order to prevent roof falls, the Romans were careful to ensure that stable seams of solid stone were left in the chamber ceilings, and columns or "pillars" of the valuable stone were left standing in many chambers for the reason. These pillars still bear many traces of the old working methods, making it possible for archaeologists to reconstruct the techniques employed.

There was also lively industrial activity 2000 years ago around the mine. The stone recovered underground and brought up to the surface by crane was processed on-site. Stonemasons' huts, smithies for making tools and a Roman crane have been reconstructed in the area surrounding Meurin Roman mine. On summer weekends, "Roman" masons and smiths bring these activities back to life.

The origins of tufa stone
The initially loose, pumice-rich layers of ash and lava are gradually converted by contact with ground and surface water to variously solidified forms of tufa. The contact with water causes a change to the material structure. The formation of new crystals leads to cementation of the material, and with continuous water contact, tufa stone slowly forms.

Wedge cleavage of stone
An effective technique

The Romans first removed the stone above, below and at one side of the tufa block to be extracted by cutting 0.4 m metre shafts. Small holes were then cut into the fourth side. As the stone is relatively soft, it was possible to carry out all these processes using a pick. The holes for the wedges were cut slightly diagonally, running in the same direction as the side shaft. When metal wedges were then driven symmetrically into these holes, the block broke away from the seam at the back, as well.
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Evidence of a far distant past:

Several years ago, the remains of Roman buildings were discovered in Kruft. Several at least of these buildings were used as workshops in which tufa was processed. This complex includes a cellar and a well made of tufa stone.
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The monument of a wealthy Roman family was excavated in Nickenich in 1931/32. This complex circular structure was made entirely of tufa stone.

A Roman cemetery was discovered in Ochtendung in 1978. A tumulus tomb, similar to that excavated in Nickenich, is evidence of the wealth of the persons buried there. 
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Massive forces in prehistory
A journey into the past and the creation of our landscape

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Massive forces in prehistory - Volcanoes
Volcanoes are born in the deep layers of the earth's mantle and can change - and even destroy - within seconds the most beautiful landscape. Over millennia, nature transforms this devastation into new idyllic, scenery. The East Eifel region was shaped by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, most recently by the Laacher See eruption 13,000 years ago.

Visitor centre and Rauscherpark
Volcanology and archaeology

One project is the establishment of the Rauscherpark in the valley of the Nette, the "garden" of the visitor centre. Visitors to this romantic ravine can follow a sign-posted path, which provides information about how it came into being during the eruption of the Michelberg volcano 200,000 years ago and how the basalt deposits were extracted by the Romans.
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Volcanic exhibits
At the information points (computer info columns), visitors can obtain specific information about those aspects of volcanology in the East Eifel region that particularly interest them. 

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Exhibits, such as this basalt "bomb", provide the visitor with an overview of the range of various igneous rock materials.

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"Volcanoes of the East Eifel region - a red hot story" is the title of a 25 minute film shown at the visitor centre. Using impressive film material and computer animation, the film brings to life the creation of the East Eifel landscape over the past 200,000 years. Superb images of recent eruptions allow the visitor to imagine what the East Eifel region must have looked like all those years ago.
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Archaeological exhibits
This model of a Roman transport ship is a symbol of the extent of the ancient stone trade routes. Stone excavated from the East Eifel region was exported from Andernach to many parts of the known world, even as far as the Roman colony of Britannia.
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The igneous rocks of the East Eifel have been excavated and traded for at least 7000 years. Large illuminated information boards in light-flooded rooms give the visitor an impression of the history of stone excavation in the area between Andernach and Mayen, particularly during the Roman period.

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Exhibits, such as a grindstone and the steps to a Roman quarry, show the visitor the conditions under which tufa and basalt were excavated and what these stones were used for in antiquity. 

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Visit the "Vulkanpark" and come face to face with volcanology
Massive volcanic eruptions created the unique Eifel landscape from fire, heat and ash. The Vulkanpark brings this landscape, its creation, and the extraction of lava and tufa stone from Roman times to today to life. Information on the 20 volcanological and historical projects in the region, with tour recommendations, can be obtained from the Rauschermühle visitor centre in Plaidt.
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To visit the Roman mine, take the Kruft exit (35) from the A 61. Follow the brown "Route blau" signs along the B 256. The mine is signposted near the town ("Römerbergwerk Meurin").

To reach the Rauschermühle visitor centre in Plaidt near Koblenz, take the Plaidt exit (36) from the A 61 and then the Ochtendung exit (8) from the A 48. Follow the brown signs "Vulkanpark I-Zentrum").

Opening times

April to October: Tuesday to Friday
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays
9.00am - 5.00pm
11.00am. - 6.00pm
November to March: Tuesday to Friday 11.00am. - 6.00pm

Meurin Roman Mine
To advance book for groups/school parties,
and guided tours, telephone 0 18 01/88 55 26
(local call rates apply within Germany) or book
on the net at www.Vulkanpark.com

Rauschermühle visitor centre
56637 Plaidt, tel 02632/98750, fax 987520,
e-mail: info@vulkanpark.com
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