Millstone quarries

Stones were vital to mills for grinding grain into flour. Mills themselves are as old as farming. Hand-operated at an early stage, they evolved into more and more sophisticated devices, and their performance improved significantly. Former flour mills were equipped with millstones (errotarriak, in Basque) powered by water (watermill), draught animals (animal-powered mill) or, on … More Millstone quarries

Maypole and ringing of church bells in San Vicente de Arana (Álava), hail-protection rites

Peasants today rely on commercial or mutual insurance for compensation of losses caused by hailstorms. However, ancient rites and charms are still practised to provide protection against the hazard of damage to crops, animals and people. On 3 May, the Finding of the Holy Cross, a Maypole (Mayo, in Spanish) is erected in San Vicente … More Maypole and ringing of church bells in San Vicente de Arana (Álava), hail-protection rites

Did people travel from the Iberian Peninsula to Trondheim (Norway) in the 11th–13th centuries?

During the Viking Age (c. 800–c. 1060), seafarers of Nordic origin ravaged numerous communities along the northern, western, southern and eastern coasts of the Iberian Peninsula. In the following centuries, devout Nordic Christians went on pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. But is it possible that individuals of Iberian Peninsular origin undertook travel, together … More Did people travel from the Iberian Peninsula to Trondheim (Norway) in the 11th–13th centuries?

Occurrences of a particular vessel in Basque language and literature

According to the accurate definition provided by the Royal Spanish Academy, the herrada is ‘a wooden bucket with large cast iron or brass bands, wider at the base than at the top rim’, more of a museum piece than a useful object today. Most notably throughout the 19th century and the first few decades of … More Occurrences of a particular vessel in Basque language and literature

‘Giant’

The recent release of the Basque film with this title, directed by Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregi, and starring, among others, Eneko Sagardoy as the Giant from Altzo, gives a nearly forgotten story a place in the limelight. What little has been said and written about his life comes from the same scarce sources, largely … More ‘Giant’

Timber dams in the Valley of Carranza (Bizkaia)

Heavy rainfall caused a great deal of destruction in the Valley of Carranza (Bizkaia) back in 1978 and revealed the remains of ancient timber dams, which allowed to know in situ the technique used in the construction of these old-time hydraulic structures of clear medieval origin. Well into the 19th century the majority of the … More Timber dams in the Valley of Carranza (Bizkaia)