The gold-bearing exploitation of Las Medulas, declared Human Heritage, goes beyond its remains. The Romans needed big amounts of water to obtain the gold from the earth, and they carried this water
by means of channels that begin in the Cabrera and the Aquilianos Mounts. It was one of the most important exploitations of the Roman Empire. Around the exploitation there are still remains of the hill forts, the water channels, as well as countless examples of the presence of these colonizers
Declared Human Heritage, they are one of the most important sites discovered in the Iberian Peninsula. Around its remains we find many hill-forts, a net of channels more than 150 kilometres long, and the Carucedo Lake, which give us an idea of the great activity of this zone. The necessity of getting water for the extraction and the washing of the gold, obliged them to build channels beginning in the Cabrera and the Aquilianos Mounts.
We can visit Las Medulas on foot, guided through the galleries where the water was violently thrown to destroy big amounts of earth and stone. The clays obtained by this procedure were washed in the "agogae", where they obtained gold dust. With this gold dust they made gold balls, to use them later. We can also go to Las Medulas on horseback, with organised routes, to know the Ruina Montium and its environments, such as the hill-fort of Saint Juan of Palueza. At the entrance of the village, we find the Archaeological classroom
where we can find the explanation to the different forms of a site's exploitation, and to the Roman's style of life in this region. The lake of Carucedo is the consequence of the storage of materials generated by the exploitation.
In the environments of the site, the chestnut trees give an ochre colour to the autumn, when their fruits are ready to be picked and commercialised. The chestnut tree was very important for the feeding, and nowadays it has a quality stamp, and most of their fruits are exported out of the region
This is one of the most employed Roman ways of exploitation to extract the gold from Las Medulas. It consisted in digging a complicated net of galleries in the mountain at different levels, of different sections, and with different lengths. Afterwards, the water was violently thrown inside the tunnels, and its strength destroyed the mountain loudly, dragging along big amounts of stones and clays. This method left us a peculiar way of galleries that crosses the interior of the exploitation
Source: Consejo comarcal de Bierzo.