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Old Mine, Great Orme, Llandudno, Conwy (Gwynedd; Caernarvonshire), Wales, UK

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Old Mine was the largest of the three Gt Orme copper mines and accesses very important Bronze Age workings for copper (malachite and azurite).

The bronze age mines exploited horizontal galleries up to 50m in length and at vertical depths of approximately 30m in which firesetting had been used to extend the workings. Stone and bone tools (see bone scraper in site photos) found in the mines show possible calibrated age-ranges for sample materials from 1410 - 1070 BC.

Although revived in 1692, the principal period of working was in the 1800s. Initially not very profitable, conditions had improved by the 1830s and between 1836 and 1845 the mine sold ore amounting to £111,905. Working continued until 1877, latterly on a very small scale, as Llandudno developed as a tourist resort.

Working was via various shafts including Treweek's (ST770832), Vivian's (ST771831), and Romans (ST771833), and from the Penmorpha Adit (SH771822) whose portal lies on the West Shore. Although driven primarily to dewater the flooded adjacent New Mine (and mainly financed by the New Mine), the adit was jointly owned and accesses extensive workings on both the Old and the New Mines.

The trace of the long, jointed, wooden flatrod system that connected a water-engine at Ffynnon Gogarth with pumps at the Old Mine remain one of the most distinctive landscape features of the Orme.

The Great Orme Exploration Society website http://www.goes.org.uk has much information about, and photographs of, the three Gt Orme mines.

NB many collectors are unaware that there are two mines here and have erroneously called the whole area "Gt Orme Mine"). In recent years there has also been considerable movement at surface, which further adds to the location problem. Unless a specimen comes from underground (or from the considerable material cleared from Old Mine in recent years), it is difficult to precisely ascribe a specimen to a particular mine.

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