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Operation and components of these saltworks

In a region like this, the climate does not favor the evaporation of water throughout the whole year, therefore, the
drafting of salt were seasonal, bounded to specific months: July to September. Even though, if heat pressed before,
this task could be brought forward to June.

Logically, in summer there is maximum sunshine, both in number of hours and intensity; this propitiates
a more rapid withdrawal of water, exposing the salt.

Meanwhile, in the winter, they let the floors filled with water to prevent the tiles to lift (the water protected
them much better).

 

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Regarding the lay of the land to produce
this effect, it is important to highlight the
terraces parceling in response to a
streamlining tasks
. Thanks to them,
water levels were better controlled and salt was
drowned with more comfort.

As it will be seen on the ground, the
correct leveling of each terrace is essential
to ensure an even distribution of salt
water and to promote evaporation without
forming irregular areas.

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One of the pools that store the salted water completely filled.

There are also four pools, two in each
sector, in order to store the salted
water
when the terraces are full and
running.

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A wagon to transport salt.

Drying racks, of which there were three in
each sector and today there is no trace, were
wooden platforms with a slight slope to
drain the water from the piles of salt. 
Some rails
formerly communicated them with the warehouse,
and some wagons performed the final transfer of salt.
In the complex we can see one of these restored wagons.

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The brick oven.

There was a warehouse in each sector, made
both labor hand and coated inside with
pine to isolate and combat the corrosive
effect of salt.

There was also a brick oven in Les Cabanetes
to perform the complex tiles and bricks
, and
even provide them to the surroundings. The clay was
backed by burning firewood from the forest which is
on the other side of the river, and their trunks
were transported by ropes to save the large gap in the environment.

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The salt mill.

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The mills of this historic site are, perhaps,
the elements demonstrating greater
intelligence by men
. There are five of
these mechanisms in a stretch of only
300m. linear river, including a drop
of 40m.

The five mills have very different
missions and features
, starting with
the size of the wheel.

The first mill grinded the salt (with a 80 cm.
wheel), next to the warehouse.  Moreover,
they took advantage from the same
waterfall to provide the whole electric
energy through a generator.

The second was a flour mill (140cm. grindstone).
The third was a feed mill. The fourth
was a grist peeler
(60 cm. of wheel)
for human consumption. And the fifth grinded
salt again
, in this case to store them in the
Cabanetes.

The person responsible for carrying out the saltworks
also owned traditional farm tasks, which
explains everything as versatile and varied
treatment system not only about salt but also about
grain to food people and animals.

Elaboration of the salt procedure

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Lots of salt piles in the corner of a terrace.

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Salt formations hanging from the pipes.

The operation for obtaining the salt
was artisan.
Through a network of ditches,
canals and rivulets the salted water was
taken from the pools (or, where appropriate, directly
from the water sources) to the terraces, and these were
filled with a volume of water equivalent to about 3cm
high.

After three days -or more, according to
climatology- when the water had been
largely evaporated, but not entirely, the
salt was collected with a mop
, making
heaps with it. If the salt stuck to the tiles,
they collected it with an iron shovel.

Then the salt was loaded on a
stretcher and two people carried the
load to the dryer sector.
There the salt was
left to rest, also piled, to be drained, and
when it had lost practically all the water, it was
placed on a cart that could take about eight quintals
(one quintal or Qm contains100 kilos) and
was carried by workers themselves, and
deposited in a warehouse. Then the cart
was replaced by a system of wagons on rails,
which moved from the drying racks to
the warehouse.

In the warehouse, salt was again piled
and the remaining moisture was drained so that
it was able to be passed dry, ready for consumption. 
Made this operation, the salt was putted in sacks of
two quintals (eight pounds) and it could be already
marketed. It was also sold, for many years, in kilo packages -specifically intended for domestic
consumption.

Generalitat de Catalunya Fons Europeu Agrícola de Desenvolupament Rural Ajuntament d'Odèn