Pen Cerrig y Mwyn, Nantymwyn Lead Mine, Llandovery, South Wales [SN 789 443]
Nantymwyn was the largest metal mine in Southern Wales and has a documented history
dating back to at least 1530. The oldest workings appear to straddle the quartz ridge
of Pen Cerrig y Mwyn, but little is known about them.
In 1996 the EMRG carried out a ground survey of the mining remains and early hushing
activity in this area.
The remains were examined archaeologically and we discovered one of several small
hollows in the side of the ridge believed to have been excavated by firesetting -
apparently some sort of mining trial.
A much earlier phase of hushing consisting of a narrow leat following the top of
the ridge with release channels either side of it was looked at in 2002. The buried
peat infill representing the abandonment of this channel was dated to between 520
and 620 yrs AD, suggesting that the original use of this probably dates to the Roman
period or before (Timberlake 2003b).
Given the proximity of the Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi and the extensive series
of associated leats for hushing on the nearby Mallaen Mountain, it seems possible
that Roman interest in this promising quartz vein on the Pen Cerrig was part of a
strategy to prospect for gold within the surrounding area.