Roman Gallery of Barranco del Góngora - Peña Infierna
ROMAN GALLERY OF BARRANCO DEL GÓNGORA - PEÑA INFIERNA
In the vicinity of the town of Montealaegre (Villagatón, León), there is a curious set of Roman gold mines, carried out both in the open pit by hydraulic mining, as well as by underground work in a gold-bearing quartz deposit, probably along the two first centuries of our era.
Outstanding among all the mining works is a gallery carefully excavated at a peak in the rock that reaches 140 passable meters, which makes it the longest of its kind known in the province of León.
This gallery was originally drilled to provide access and drainage to the gold quartz mineralization, whose outcrop is 90 m above and was also mined in the open pit. Before the intervention, access to the 140m long path of this gallery could only be made by crawling in difficult conditions, even having to overcome some narrow steps almost 40 cm high.
The gallery has two differentiated sections: one of 40 m, excavated in the sterile conglomerate and practically perpendicular to the gold quartz seams, and another of 100 m, already excavated following quartz seams until entering the exploitation area, which is located at approximately 106 m of travel.
The gallery is carved out of the rock and features a solid, barrel-shaped vaulted structure at the exterior access. Thanks to the intervention carried out in 2019-2020, today it is possible to circulate for 100 meters through the original gallery, just as the Roman miners did 2,000 years ago.