Ecomuseum: Calcara (Lime Kiln)
The "calcara" was an ancient lime kiln where limestones were baked to produce lime.
The kiln was made by digging a circular hole in the clay soil.
The walls of the oven were lined with granite, a material which is particularly heat resistant, even up to temperatures of over 1000°C.
There are almost no traces of these kilns today, but the kiln located in Val Meledrio is still in perfect conditions, an example of ancient craftsmanship, of how for centuries mankind was united to his home and the mountains.
The use of limestone in the construction of houses in the area was fundamental from an architectural point of view, in order to be able to reside in what was sometimes an inhospitable environment. Limestone was also used for maintenance and repair work as a filler, as a white pigment in paint and also as a disinfectant, in fact it was commonly used to help prevent the spread of epidemics which affected both people and animals during periods of famine and war.
HOW THE KILNS WORKED
First, wood had to be gathered, which was then left near the door of the kiln.
Then came the construction, done with great expertise, the vault was built in the “volt a bot” style with elongated stones known as “cogni” that were used to build the semi-spheric ceiling of the kiln which in fact divided the kiln in two: the top part was where the stones were heated, and the bottom part was where the fire was stoked. The upper door was sealed with mortar and chalk, and the lower part, under the vault was left open in order to insert the wood.
Starting with the biggest stones then down to the smaller stones, the kiln was filled. Finally, the pile of stones was completed and given a dome shape, which was covered with a layer of mortar, with holes passing through it which acted as small chimneys. The fire was then lit and it lasted approximately 90 hours. Eventually the stones would begin to lose their original shape and turn into lime.
PIANO DI SVILUPPO RURALE - ASSE 4 LEADER
Iniziativa realizzata con il cofinanziamento del F.E.A.S.R.
(Fondo Europero Agricolo per lo Sviluppo Rurale)
e con Fondi Statali e Provinciali