More than 2000 years ago humans, as can be proved historically, began to prospect for Rhine gold.
Celts and later the Romans used the precious metal for the production of cult articles and the first Rhine gold coins.
Up to the 1900's, fishermen, farmers and hand workers gained a small extra income, some butter on otherwise rather dry bread. These prospectors at that time used pans and wash banks. The wash banks were lined with animal pelts, "Golden Fleeces" which trapped the fine grains of gold.
The discovery of gold in North America in the late 19th Century led to a complete cessation of the gold search on the Rhine.