Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Las Medulas: Roman Strip Mining

We proceeded on, breaking camp on Friday the 16th, heading past Valenca across the river to Tui and Spain and then to old friend O Porrino, for groceries and recharging our Spanish simcards and mifi. And from there we drove further east, into the mountains, to Monforte de Lemos and its nice aire on the river. And from there, next day, we drove on to Las Medulas, yet another World Heritage site, one of many in Spain, and the largest of Rome's gold mining undertakings. The day was warm, then hot, but we persevered.
At the aire in Monforte de Lemos

Nice view

But too hot to visit

Las Medulas is an extensive site, as one might expect of strip
mining operations

Yeah, the Camino Santiago (Frances) passes
through here; it will be days before we're off it;
happily, not on foot anymore, however

Nice life-sized dioramas in the museum; memo to self: whatever
you do in the next life, do not be a Roman slave


Helpful model: essentially it was placer mining...they tunneled
into the soft rock, flooded the tunnels until the mountain burst,
then picked through the detritus; "mountain ruining" they called
it; the big achievement was the hydraulic engineering, that is,
getting the water into the tunnels; the Romans were good at
moving water

Sluices also a  major part of it

At the resto next to the museum; "hail, Caesar!" "hail, yes!"
(favorite line from junior high school; I played Cassius in the
school play; no one would accuse me now of having a lean
and hungry look; OK, maybe hungry)

Major ruined mountain

For some reason, the camera again switched
on to Etkachrome mode

Ruined landcaped

Exposed tunnels

More ruined landscape

Tunnel opening overlook

Click to enlarge and read Pliny the Elder's description of all
this, which is actually interesting

We might have gone on a tunnel tour, but it would have been
an hour's wait in the heat

So I got one for the road and we proceeded on; note the
composition of the rock...basically mud with nuggets of
this and that, including, once, some gold

Vicki was particularly impressed with the overhanging
buildings in one of villages, which caused us to swing wide
on the 12% grade

We proceeded on, dreaming of shade

1 comment:

Tawana said...

Didn't know Spain had gold from anywhere except the new world. Interesting...