Guldnes mines, at an altitude of nearly 2000 ft., are located by Sundsbarmvatnet, 15 km northwest of downtown Seljord. The mines are on a small peninsula in Sundsbarmvatnet. This mountain area is heavily forested and sparsely populated. It is possible to drive by car all the way to the mines. 10 km of this road are privately owned but accessible for a nominal fee payed at the toll station by Vindsvoll Farm. The mines were operated periodically between 1538 and the 1880`s. Many of the mine and house foundations in the area are from the later periods of operation. But it is still possible to see traces of mining operations from the earlier periods. The area is otherwise formed by the Sundsbarm Dam, built in the 1960`s. Many remains from the earliest mining operations were put under water when the dam was built. German miners were the first to find copper and silver ore in Guldnes. King Christian the 3rd received word of this in 1538. He was interested in suporting new enterprises so he hired a German mining officer, Hans Glaser, to recruit miners from Germany. About 300 German miners came to West-Telemark between 1538 and 1549. Nothing in the way of food or housing was prepared for these miners and the local farmers. The confrontations intesified until the "Farmer`s Revolt" in 1540, and orgaized revolt among farmers from nine villages, who tried to chase the miners out of the area. The revolt was put down by a royal army comprised of troops from Denmark, Akershus (oslo), and Bohuslen (Southwestern Sweden). 16 of the farmers were sentenced to death. Ten of the farmers managed to save themselves by paying large fines. One of the farmers was made the executioner for the remaining five. The first Norwegian "dollars" (dalar) were made from silver from the Guldnes mines in 1545. NB! Do not try to walk into the mines, big danger to slide!
Last updated: 03/06/2023
Source: Vest Telemark