Photographer's Note

July 16th, 2007
Melle 790174 79500
Deux-Sèvres Poitou-Charentes
46.223 -0.143 138 m

Silver mines of Frankish Kings, VIème in Xème century, in Melle.

They are the oldest silver mines worth visiting in Europe.

The mines of Melle were opened with fire because of hardness limestone. This technic consists to set pieces of wood on fire against the walls, heat made fracture the rock. The mine takes round forms characteristic of this mode of extraction.
The minors extracted until at least 995, of the siver-bearing crystal from which, lead and money were obtained. Lead was initially used to pay a tribute with kings frank, thus under Dagobert Ier, eight thousand books were sent by it each year in Paris where it was used for the cover of the Saint-Denis basilica.
Melle was one of the largest monetary workshops of the Carolingian empire, one struck there silver moneys, the "denier" and the "obole". In 864, "Charles le Chauve", limited to ten the number of workshops which can beat currency in all the empire, of which Melle. He was listed more than 10 000 currencies in the name of the workshop of Melle.

For the history:
In 848, the Norman ones reach and plunder Melle, carried out by their Hasting chief.
During the Fifth war of religion, the duke of Montpensier takes the city in 1575, after a three days resistance, and makes hang the governor.
It is also to Melle that Catherine de Médicis met her nephew and son-in-law Henri de Navarre, the future Henri IV in 1586.

MELLE is a French commune, located in the department of Deux-Sèvres of the Poitou-Charentes area, populated of 3851 Mellois in 1999, distributed out of 10 km², that is to say 397 hab./km².

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Additional Photos by joel berthonneau (jlbrthnn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 7303 W: 0 N: 22961] (76039)
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