The Dolaucothi Gold Mines

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Unique gold mines set amid wooded hillsides overlooking the beautiful Cothi Valley, first exploited by the Romans almost 2000 years ago.

The Dolaucothi Gold Mines (grid reference SN662399), also known as the Ogofau Gold Mine, are a Roman deep mine located in the valley of the River Cothi, near Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

They are the only mines for Welsh gold outside those of the Dolgellau gold-belt, and are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Archaeology suggests that mining on this site started sometime in the Bronze Age. Evidence of a fort and settlement show that the Romans worked the mine during the first and second centuries AD (from AD 75 until around AD 140). These workings are comparable with those in Romania and with the late Iron Age gold sites of Limousin in central France. The Romans probably used slave labour taken from the local area to work the mine. No evidence of the Roman minting process exists on or near the site, so the gold may then have been sent as far away as Rome to be minted. After the military occupation the mine may have been taken over by Romano-British civilian contractors.

Following the Roman departure from Britain in the 4th century, the mine lay abandoned for centuries. There was a short revival in the 19th century; and in the 1930s the shaft was sunk to 430 feet in an attempt to locate new seams. Falling into disrepair and unsafe due to flooding at its lower levels, the mine finally closed in 1938.

The United Kingdom’s National Trust has owned and run the site since 1941. The National Trust organises guided tours for visitors, showing them the mine and the Roman archaeology.

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