Dolaucothi Gold Mine
The Dolaucothi Gold Mine are famous for the rose coloured Welsh gold used in royal wedding rings. There is evidence of Bronze age mining followed by Romans, Victorians and Edwardians. 10 tons of shale and 1 ton of quartz produces 1 ounce of gold. Not commercially viable even if it’s value is three times that of other gold.
You can visit this National Trust site in Pumsaint Carmarthenshire. You can go on three different tours, depending on the season, both above and below ground. They last approximately one hour. Our guide Sam was entertaining and informative, a really interesting visit.
The mine yard sits in a wooded undulated area mainly shaped by the excavations. These were both open cat by the Romans and underground tunnels mainly by the Victorians.
The Romans began the first extensive mining of Dolaucothi between 70AD and 80 AD. They created large open-cast workings and digging several adits (tunnels) to extract the gold.
Most of this was achieved using nothing more than picks and hammers in what must have been very hard labour. Some of the original pick-marks, which are almost 2,000 years old, can still be seen during the Roman Tour.
There was an aquaduct system to bring the water from the rivers to scour away the top soil and wash the crushed rock.
Why they came or indeed heard of the gold mine remains a mystery except that the precious metal was one of the reasons for their invasion.