Archaeologists uncover vast ancient Roman mining operation in Spain

From Haaretz.com: Archaeologists Uncover Vast Ancient Roman Mining Operation in Spain.

Archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Munigua in southern Spain have found a vast Roman copper mining operation built on an older mine dating back thousands of years.

Exploitation of ore at Munigua apparently began by the Turdetani, the original inhabitants of the region, over 4,000 years ago. Now the excavators have discovered an elaborate system of ventilated underground galleries connected by tunnels dating to the Roman era.

They also found shafts connecting at various heights forming floors that let the miners extract metal deeper than had been believed possible at the time. Happily for the miners, the ancient Romans were on to the secret of ventilation. [continue]

Medieval heating system lives on in Spain

Did you get up and light the fire this morning? Is there snow all about? You might like to read No Tech Magazine’s article on a medieval heating system that lives on in Spain.

In the early middle ages, the Castillians developed a subterranean heating system that’s a descendent of the Roman hypocaust: the “gloria”. Due to its slow rate of combustion, the gloria allowed people to use smaller fuels such as hay and twigs instead of firewood.

Remarkably, the gloria is alive and kicking. Several villages, especially in the wider region around Burgos, still have houses with subterranean fireplaces of which some are in working order.

In January, my friend Pedro took me to his uncle’s house in Hontangas, a tiny village at some 100 km from Burgos. The uncle, now in his late sixties, fires the gloria once every morning during the “nine months of winter”. [continue]

‘Robin Hood’ cafe in Madrid is charging rich customers to give to the poor

From The Independent: ‘Robin Hood’ cafe in Madrid is charging rich customers to give to the poor.

A cafe in Spain is charging customers by day, and using the proceeds to serve meals to homeless people free of charge at night.

The Robin Hood restaurant opened on a side street in central Madrid on Tuesday, operating a simple but unique business model.

At breakfast and lunchtime the initiative runs as an ordinary Spanish bar, selling coffee, croquetas, and cigarettes, before reopening in the evening as a restaurant, serving a sophisticated sit-down supper to people who cannot afford to pay. [continue]

The Guardian has a story on this place, too: Charge the ‘rich’ to feed the poor: Madrid’s Robin Hood homeless cafe.

What a fantastic idea.