Case Study: Dolaucothi Goldmines 1930s

2000 years ago, the site of Dolaucothi was a major goldmine for the Romans, probably one of the reasons for their invasion of Wales.

But when the Romans left nothing much happened at Dolaucothi until the Victorian miners rediscovered the workings and tried their luck. Without the slave labour of the Roman excavations, the mines were unprofitable, and the Victorians abandoned them.

Then, for almost a decade in the 1930s, Dolaucothi was revived as a commercial enterprise...

...but the 1930s was a tense decade with the build up to the Second World War, and the strains on the mine meant it only retrieved a small amount of gold from the ground.

What Monty Funk did:




Panel and web copywriting


Illustrations and graphic design


Panel printing, construction & installation


Map design, cartography and printing


Interactive information kiosk


Sound design, programming & installation


Telephone and artefact reconstruction


Oral history editing & restoration


There are a number of machines in the workshop from the 1930s and Monty Funk created a series of soundscapes, some triggered as you enter the workshop, some using push-buttons. These immersive sounds give you an idea of working conditions at the time.

There is also a radiogram from the time playing 21 different news bulletins from the 1930s, randomly triggered as you enter the Assay Office...

The story of the 1930s gold mining at Dalaucothi is told though reconstructions of tools and equipment, a series of interpretation panels showing how life was,  and the voices of the actual miners.

Originally recorded in the 1980s, many of the workers came to tell of life down the mines, in the processing plant and the other activities needed to keep the mine running.

These recordings have been digitally restored and can be heard throughout the mine site on telephones from the period. You dial a number and there they are telling you how it was.

There are other industrial interactive delights, including industrial historian, Tim Martin explaining the workings of the compressor shed - hit the buttons there to find out more!

A. Wright - Underground Worker: "Getting your lamp"

Gwilym Price - Winderman:

"The Rat"

Evan Morgan -  Machine Borer:

"Drunken story"

Roger Jobe -  Machine Welder:

"Roman Discovery"

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