Lost mines

Lost mines

Lost mines are a very popular form of lost treasure legend. The mine involved is usually of a high-value commodity such as gold, silver, or diamonds. Often there is a map (in the United States sometimes called a "waybill") purportedly showing the location of the mine. Common reasons that the mines are lost include::* The mine is discovered and worked by a recluse who refuses to divulge the location, and dies before revealing the location.:* The mine is worked by native peoples who refuse to divulge the location to others.:* The mineral deposit is discovered in a remote location, and upon returning to the area the discoverer cannot find it again.:* The discoverer dies of hunger, thirst, or exposure shortly after discovering the deposit, and his body is found with rich ore specimens in his possession.:* The discoverers are killed by hostile natives. Sometimes the natives cover up the entrance to the mine. :* In Spanish colonies in the New World, many lost mines were supposedly worked under the direction of Jesuit priests before their sudden expulsion in 1767.

Some lost mine legends have a historical basis; some have none. But the lure of lost mine legends is attested by the many books on the subject, and the popularity of publications such as "Lost Treasure" magazine.

List of "lost mine" legends

Legends of lost mines are probably worldwide. Those listed below are just a sampling.


* King Solomon's Mines


* Lasseter's Reef (Never actually mined)


* Sacambaya mine


* Muribeca mine


* Chivor mine, an emerald mine lost for 200 years, then found again. [I. A. Mumme (1982) "The Emerald", Port Hacking, New South Wales: Mumme Publications, p.21-22.]


* Lost diamond mine of Vicente Guerrero
* Lost Naranjal mine
* Planchas de Plata, Sonora, (sometimes called "Bolas de Plata"). Periodically assumed to be "lost," although the location is well documented.
* Tayopa silver mine, Sonora

United States

* Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, Arizona
* Mine with the Iron Door, Arizona
* Lost Pegleg mine, California; supposedly found by mountain man "Pegleg" Smith
* Lost Breyfogle mine, California or Nevada
* Death Valley Scotty's secret mine, California or Nevada
* Lost Gunsight mine, California or Nevada
* Lost Adams Diggings, New Mexico or Arizona
* Lost Blue Bucket mine, Oregon
* Swift's silver mine, Kentucky or Tennessee
* Lost San Saba mine (sometimes called the "Lost Bowie mine" or the "Lost Almagres mine"), Texas
* Lost Rhoades mine, Utah
* Lost Padre mine, various locations in USA
* Lost Cabin mine, various locations in USA
* Two Frenchmen Mine, Oregon


*citation | last = Dobie | first = J. Frank | title = Coronado's Children | publisher = Southwest Press | date = 1930 - Texan folklorist J. Frank Dobie collected many tales of lost mines of the American Southwest in the collection Coronado's Children. The title refers to those who followed the legends of hidden riches, like Coronado did in the 17th century.

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