Paleontological Collection


The origin of the collection lies in the pre-WERNER period, i.e. in the academic Mineral Cabinet and its predecessors. To this oldest collection belong plant remains from the Rotliegend of Hilbersdorf and very representative pieces, which were published in the probably most important paleontological work of its time, "Die Naturgeschichte der Versteinerungen..." by Georg Wolfgang KNORR (1705-1761) and Johann Ernst Immanuel WALCH (1725-1778), written between 1755 and 1773.

In 1799 Abraham Gottlob WERNER (1749-1817), in order to substantiate his neptunistic thought construct, started the world's first paleontology lecture in the history of earth sciences. According to the scripts of WERNER's lecture on "Geognosy" by Heinrich Adolf Leberecht SCHIPPAN (1794-1837) from the years 1814/15, he considered this "Petrification Theory" or "Petrefaktology" as a subfield of his "Geognosy". For this lecture and for practice purposes, he created his own "Conchylien-", "Zoophyten-" and "Petrefakten - collection", which were later taken over into the Collection of the Mining Academy.

After WERNERs death the Freiberg professors BREITHAUPT, REICH, v. COTTA, STELZNER and BECK considerably enlarged the collection by their own findings and due to their connections all over the world. Significant additions were the GUTBIER's flora from the Zwickau Carboniferous rocks (1835), KAUF's plates with animal tracks from Hildburghausen (1835), ROSSMAESSLER's herbariums (before 1848), GEINITZ's fossils out of Carboniferous, upper Permian and Cretaceous rocks (1855-1870) and DEICHMUELLER's insects out of the black slate at Weissig (1882).

After a demand of the Oberberghauptmann J.C. FREIESLEBEN (1774-1846) first between 1822 and 1824 K.G.A. v.WEISSENBACH (1797-1846) recorded the fossils existing at the Bergakademie, F. REICH determined them anew, provided all pieces with the binary nomenclature after v.LINNÉ (1707-1778) and resumed in 1830/31, 13 years after WERNER's death, the lecture on petrifaction. His successor B. v.COTTA had a catalog of the existing fossils made in 1859 by his former student E.L. WEISS (d. 1898). According to this, 8459 animal and 982 plant fossils as well as about 2500 duplicates existed at the Bergakademie. Their value was estimated at 4500 talers (REICH, 1866).

Under the director SCHUMACHER, a specialization took place up to the middle of 20th century. The collections were thematically separated and the Paleontologic and the Stratigraphic Collection were established. After World War II, these collections were enlarged by the activities of MUELLER, ROSELT, TROEGER and SCHNEIDER. This was an enormous input of scientifically important materials.

In our days the collections comprise about 150.000 macrofossils and more than 1 million microfossils, including the "Typen- und Originale-Sammlung". That collection contains about 9.000 specimens described in publications, as well as many type specimens. Important stratigraphic and facial rock samples were added.