Along the road between Väst­ra Tun­hem church and Väst­ra Tun­hem recto­ry is a seri­es of caves in the mountainside.

The­se caves are the remains of quar­ry­ing that took pla­ce for cen­tu­ri­es along the foot of the mountain. Alum sha­le is one of the types of rock that make up the tab­le mountains. The sha­le con­si­sts of alter­na­ting lay­ers of sedi­ments, some of which are richer in clay and others that are richer in limesto­ne and orga­nic mate­ri­al. They were for­med in a sea around 500 mil­li­on years ago. Limesto­ne can be found embed­ded as “len­ses” in the alum sha­le. We call it ant­h­raco­ni­te or stink­sto­ne. The alum sha­le con­tains oil, which meant that it could be used as fuel when the lime was bur­ned, which also made it viab­le as a raw material.

The ant­h­raco­ni­te or stink­sto­ne was com­bi­ned with the alum sha­le in lime kilns, and the sha­le ser­ved as the fuel. Tra­ces of the­se kilns can still be seen clo­se to the mining sites, toget­her with red­dish mounds of bur­ned sha­le, known local­ly as röd­fyr (“red beacon”). Lime has always been and still is a vital resour­ce for peop­le. It was ori­gi­nal­ly used main­ly for making lime mor­tar and as a soil impro­ver, and more recent­ly as one of the main ingre­di­ents in cement.

Dole­ri­te can also be seen in the roofs of the mining tun­nels. This penetra­ted the vari­ous sedi­men­ta­ry lay­ers of the tab­le mountains as mag­ma around 300 mil­li­on years ago. The sof­ter lay­ers abo­ve the dole­ri­te have now ero­ded away, whi­le the alum sha­le bene­ath the dole­ri­te survives.

Lime was pro­du­ced on an indust­ri­al sca­le at Hun­ne­berg from the late 18th cen­tu­ry until the 1950s.

War­ning! The­re are fre­quent rock falls insi­de the mine tun­nels, so you defi­ni­tely should not enter them.

Hit­ta Hit

Väst­ra Tun­he­m’s caves is loca­ted in the Hal­le- och Hun­ne­bergs ras­bran­ter natu­re reserve.