Iberianature Forum

Iberian geography, history, geology, environment and climate => Climate => Topic started by: Clive on December 28, 2007, 15:19 PM

Title: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on December 28, 2007, 15:19 PM
Hi all...

Taking the subject of the "Pozos de nieves" or snow wells from Sue's Christmas day walk post a bit further...
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,1044.0.html

Noting Sue's date of 1635 for the first ones being used in the Sierra de Grazalema this coincides nicely with the years known as "the little ice age"

Quote
In many years, snowfall was much heavier than recorded before or since, and the snow lay on the ground for many months longer than it does today. Many springs and summers were outstandingly cold and wet, although there was great variability between years and groups of years. Crop practices throughout Europe had to be altered to adapt to the shortened, less reliable growing season, and there were many years of death and famine (such as the Great Famine of 1315-1317, although this may have been before the LIA proper). Viticulture entirely disappeared from some northern regions. Violent storms caused massive flooding and loss of life. Some of these resulted in permanent losses of large tracts of land from the Danish, German, and Dutch coasts.

Wikipedia has an indepth explanation of the little ice age
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

It makes sense that people would have used this "free" product from the mountains during this time... And even more sense why the change was made to electric powered ice making factories... Ease of manufacturing and less transport coupled with naturally reducing snow amounts as the little ice age changed to a warmer climate...

I would be interested to hear any dates and info for the first snow wells in other parts of Iberia...

Plus any other "little ice age" info... For example has the Guadalquivir ever frozen over like the Thames in London used to during these years? What about the Ebro and Duero/Douro

What happened to the vineyards and orange groves?

Quote
In China, warm weather crops, such as oranges, were abandoned in Jiangxi Province, where they had been grown for centuries

It certainly sounds like an incredibly hard existence....

Quote
The Little Ice Age by anthropology professor Brian Fagan of the University of California at Santa Barbara, tells of the plight of European peasants during the 1300 to 1850 chill: famines, hypothermia, bread riots, and the rise of despotic leaders brutalizing an increasingly dispirited peasantry. In the late 17th century, writes Fagan, agriculture had dropped off so dramatically that "Alpine villagers lived on bread made from ground nutshells mixed with barley and oat flour." Finland lost perhaps a third of its population to starvation and disease.

Clive
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on December 28, 2007, 18:23 PM
Oops... Forgot to look in the obvious place..

Quote
Salas and others (Nuestro Porvenir Climático, 2001) mention the Ebro freezing 7 times between 1505 and 1789. In 1788 and again in 1789 the river remained frozen for fifteen days. (Annoyingly, it doesn't mention where, though I think it implies that it occurred near the Mediterranean). The book also notes one of the best documented studies of the Little Ice Age in Spain: the presence of an extensive network of ice stores known varyingly as neveras, pozos de nieve, ventisqueros and glaceres , which were built and maintained between the 16th and 19th centuries along the Eastern Mediterranean, some in areas where it no longer snows even one day. The storage and distribution of ice was a lively business involving whole sections of the rural population.

Quoted from an excellent article at iberianature.com
http://www.iberianature.com/material/iceage.html

:)



Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on December 28, 2007, 22:11 PM
I'm not sure if this is of any relevance, but there is a very interesting description of ice "harvesting" in North America, in the 1860s, in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books: Farmer Boy. (These are children's books, but none the less fascinating for that.)

The description is of people cutting ice from a pond and then storing it in some kind of ice house. Although it took place "over there", it could be that the technique was used in Europe, too. Certainly, the men cutting the ice were French in origin.

I will try to find out more about the dome-shaped stone hut in Cartagena.
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: steveT on December 28, 2007, 23:38 PM
Jill et al,

There are pozos de nieve on the slopes of Puig Mayor ( Mallorca) which is 1500m so these are much lower........I didn't believe it when I was told what they were. I understand that when it snowed these were filled with snow by hand, compacted, and then covered with branches/plants/material and brought down later in the year as blocks of ice. Ironically it snowed in the winter of 92 when I was there and you could imagine this happening, in winters that were just slightly colder in the past.

steveT
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on December 29, 2007, 10:01 AM
Hi
This is a seriously interesting article in its English translated form of the pozos de nieve on Sierra de Espuna with excellent photos.  Jill you could see these as they really are comparatively near to you albeit very high
SueMac


http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.totana.com/cgi-bin/pozos.asp&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=3&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DSierra%2Bde%2BEspuna%2Band%2Bpozos%2Bde%2Bnieve%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-US
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on December 29, 2007, 10:46 AM
Greetings SueMac,
Many thanx for that google translation lonk - the most interesting online translation service Technopat has seen to date (the function which lets you read the original sentence by hovering the cursor over the translated bit is of especial interest).

For those of us you who prefer the unadulterated stuff, here's the orig. en cristiano:

http://www.totana.com/cgi-bin/pozos.asp (http://www.totana.com/cgi-bin/pozos.asp)

Another-worryingly-warm-morn.-in-Madrid regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Simon on December 29, 2007, 19:51 PM
Hi All,

Following on from Clive and Sue's lovely Christmas day post and on to talk of ice caves, little ice ages, etc. I'm sure it wasn't me who posted anything about ice caves. However, I think we must have talked about it during the Tarragona Summit when Mrs Simon and Nick had their own geographer's fringe event. The issue was that in Guyana they use ice for refrigeration as the electricity supply is totally useless. The point was about 'travellers', i.e. goofy western backpackers, making a big deal about not having ice with their drinks whereas in fact the ice is made by condensing water out of the humid air, so is about as pure as you can get. If you don't have a bowl of ice served up with your beer it starts to froth up like dry ice in a Hammer horror movie! (does anyone out there (Dave, Teeps) remember Fenella Fielding 'smoking' in a Carry-on film? Oooooh!)

Back to ice caves (a good thing too I hear you cry); I'm not sure that the concept of refrigeration, as in food conservation as opposed to very short term storage, existed before the nineteenth century at least as nobody would have understood the behaviour of bacteria. As usual I'm completely wooly on this but I think that Lister had something to say on the subject, by my encyclopaedia only refers to his development of the microscope - over to you experts! But otherwise food, especially fish, was salted or dried, the latter requiring cold, dry  mountain environments then as now, hence the 'jamon' from Teruel (coldest place this side of Siberia!) is still the best!

I know that there are loads of ice house in the LOG, many of which were/are follies and some are available as holiday rentals through the Landmark Trust. On the subject of climate change and the 'little' ice age; many Pyrenean  'bordas' i.e. 'corrals for use in summer were actual 12/12 villages until about the end of the XIv century, even having productive vineyards, etc. Our area, the Conca de Tremp, developed a considerable economy from about the XVI century onwards producing wine for the higher mountain communities after their indigenous production literally dried up. I'm not into global warmig denial, don't get me wrong, but it just goes to show that there's nothing new . . .

Regds

Simon
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Dave on December 29, 2007, 20:18 PM
Hi Simon
I think the Carry On film you are referring to was `Carry on Screaming´ a spoof of the Hammer horror films with the wonderful Harry H Corbett of Steptoe fame as well as Jim Dale and Fenella Fielding alongside some of the Carry on regulars. Kenneth Williams shouting, `Frying tonight´ as someone was pushed/fell into a vat of Acid.
regards
Dave K
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Simon on December 29, 2007, 21:32 PM
Got it in one Dave, I knew I could rely on you! Jim Dale's son, Murray, was at Sussex University with me - fame at last! Harry H. was great wasn't he, another sad early loss, like Leonard Rossiter and far to mant more . . .

Bye the way, I've recently 'discovered' Morcilla de Martos (Jaen), your nexk of the woods nearly, do you knwo it?

Happy New Year

Siomn
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 02, 2008, 16:07 PM
Greetings All,
Just to add of my own to the memory of the loss of such greats (Harry H., Rossiter, Barker, etc. - when you reach my age, they become too many to mention individually, but nostalgia won't get us anywhere - and I know that las comparaciones son odiosas (En. anyone?), but for any of you wishing to get a deeper insight into Spain's recent history, I dare you to sit through more than one viewing of Paco Martínez Soria and Gracita Morales and Alfredo Landa and ... Oh, Darwin! the list is endless ...)

Right! Down to the nitty-gritty: Father-in-law (grew up in a wholesale fishmongering family in post-war Málaga - he's in his mid-70s) says that in his living memory the ice came from industrial fábricas de hielo - powered by electricity - which produced blocks of ice, which were then flaked for the crates of fish. And before then, he said the fish was dried, salted, etc. Fresh fish unavailable other than in seaside areas. He had no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of pozos de hielo.

Regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: steveT on January 02, 2008, 19:54 PM
Dear TP,

I think these pozos go back to pre-electricity.....were'nt most of these fabrica de hielo and luz ( tiny HEP stations) etc built in the 40s? The pozos I saw on Puig Mayor Mallorca, would only have been only big enough for small scale consumption ie for the rich and high value usage.

Happy New Year

steveT


Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 02, 2008, 20:08 PM
Well they certainly weren't powered by Electricity in 1635 in the Sierra de Grazalema. The same dates are mentioned in the links that SueMac posted for the Sierra de Espuña

The Electric powered ice houses down on the costas must have been an attempt to cut labour and transport costs and also a "wonderful new technology" to take over from the hard labour it must have been to collect the snow in the winter months at 1500-2000 metres of altitude.

I see Simon and Tp's point about dried and salted fish but I am not convinced that this incredibly labour intensive work was done just to put an ice cube in a drink or to make an ice cream colder... Especially not in the 1600's...

I spoke to my friend from Grazalema yesterday and he says that there isn't anyone left alive who worked the snow wells on the mountain above the village...

So what exactly was the ice used for? ???

Clive
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 02, 2008, 21:24 PM
New Year's Greetings All,

Love steveT's
Quote
high value usage
- the mind boggles, but will incorporate it into my own usage ...  :dancing:

Re. Clive's
Quote
So what exactly was the ice used for?
the answer is pretty obvious  :technodevil: : artificial snow for a failed ski resort in the Sierras de Grazalema and de Espuña (so they've decided to try a bit further north at San Glorio). Climate change has a lot to answer for ...

SueMac / Nick's original article on the pozos at Totana:
Quote
Hace más de 70 años que cesó la actividad en estos pozos y alrededor de siglo y medio que comenzó su declive ante la "llegada" del frío industrial.
- roughly:
Quote
Activity for these wells ceased over 70 years ago and their decline started around 150 years ago with the arrival of industrial refrigeration/cooling*.

*the asterisk is mine - could there be something to follow up here or is it a red herring (salted, smoked or frozen)

It's true that my father-in-law's reference (Málaga - "big" coastal capital with over 238,000 inhabitants in 1940 -  Sp. Wikipedia (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A1laga#Historia)) to industrial refrigeration/cooling - which coincides neatly with steveT's and others' references would not be the case for poorer (?) regions/areas further inland where such high tech. would have been unnecessarily costly. So could the pozos up in the mountains have been for locally caught river trout, etc. and for transporting same down from the mountains?

Regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Talking 'bout red herrings - any way of finding a common denominator here for the Great iberianatureforum Marmelade Mystery? Or is my time at 'ere at iberianatureforum getting me too accustomed to conspiracy theories ... :-\
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: nick on January 03, 2008, 10:58 AM
The Grazalema ice could well have been transported to the nearest town. Barcelona for instance was supplied by ice from Montseny where I believe it represented a useful additional source of income for many families. It began in the 1650s.

"Per la documentació que es conserva, sembla ser que es va iniciar a mitjans del segle XVI, va tenir un període d'esplendor als segles XVII i XVIII i lògicament va acabar a finals del XIX amb l'arribada de les industries de gel artificial."


http://www.montsenyrural.net/pous_de_glac.htm
(http://www.montsenyrural.net/pou-neu-cervera.jpg)
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 03, 2008, 14:04 PM
Greetings Nick,
Thanx for that - interesting bit here
Quote
La neu es feia servir a l'estiu per la conservació d'aliments, del peix a les llotges dels pobles mariners, per combatre la febre, com anestèsic, per les cremades, per aturar hemorràgies, com refrescant de begudes i per fabricar gelats.
- which apart from the obvious food and drink uses, adds the medical uses of ice, of which I had no idea.
Regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 03, 2008, 14:10 PM
Apart from weird mentions like.. "It was used for food" or "medicinal" I cannot find one concrete piece of information to tell me exactly what the ice in 1600 was being collected and used for...(here in Grazalema)

And now I find an even more exasperating comment at
http://andalucianatural.com/sierra-de-las-nieves.html

"En la época musulmana se recogía la nieve en pozos y después se transportaba a toda Andalucía."

So now we have to go back pre 1400's and find out what the Muslims were collecting and transporting ice for across the whole of Andalucia..


Clive

Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 03, 2008, 14:24 PM
Aaaaghhhh!  :banghead:
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 03, 2008, 14:25 PM
PS.
Looking on the bright side, however, for want of more specific info., it all adds weight to my conspiracy theory  :technodevil:
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 03, 2008, 15:50 PM
This use of ice has really been exercising my mind as I lived in Schloss Schwoebber in 1970 (A Baron von Munchausen schloss) and I am not telling tall stories.  There was an "English Park" attached and within this park there was an ice house which I talked about with the family.  I sort of remember her saying it hadnt been used that century and I am pretty sure they used it as a culinary delight ie making ice cream but it is a very long time ago.
However discussing this with my cousin she pointed out that in Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford being portrayed on BBC1 currently there is a scene when the doctor with modern ideas asks them to get ice and smash it up and they pack it round the sick young woman to bring her temperature down.  As the script writers have taken licence with the original book I cant find a reference for more detail. But its a start..... a ps to this is that as I was looking for the ice reference in Gaskell I found a reference to "Baron Munchausen" in relation to Miss Matty's brother Peter.

SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 03, 2008, 16:21 PM
Following this thought I dsicovered  with google this advert in 1856 advert in New York Times:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9401E7DB133DE034BC4A52DFB266838D649FDE.
I am still thinking about the history of ice cream  which of course has a great spanish following.
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 03, 2008, 16:26 PM
Hi all

Bingo!  They used to use ice and salt in the ice houses to make icecream

http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk/ice/icecream.htm This reference gives chapter and verse.
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 03, 2008, 17:52 PM
Certainly in "modern" times we know from all the links people have put in this topic that the ice was used for ice cream, beverages and medicinal uses such as lowering fever. Ice from the Sierra de Grazalema was transported to Seville for these purposes in the 18 and 1900's

But why would it be transported to the Doñana area of Cadiz?. I keep coming full circle and thinking of fish...

And most importantly SueMac...

"En la época musulmana se recogía la nieve en pozos y después se transportaba a toda Andalucía."

Did the Moors eat ice cream? Your link says that ice cream had been invented by the 1400's but I am struggling to believe that this would be the reason for "collection and transportation all over Andalucia"

Keep on searching... It's fascinating....

:)

Clive
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 03, 2008, 18:41 PM


http://www.lofti.dsu.edu/Ice%20Cream/Pages/ice_cream_history.htm
A Little History..... There are plenty of myths about where ice cream was first invented. Some suggest Marco Polo first brought ice cream from China. The earliest evidence of anything resembling ice cream actually does come from China.

In the 1500s, ice cream was developed in Italy. In the 1600s France and Spain developed forms of ice cream and in the late 1600s England had their own secret recipes for ice cream.

It wasn't until the 1700s that the Americas first dabbled in ice cream. In the 19th century ice cream became a popular treat with the advent of mechanical technology and modern freezing methods.

also
 
http://sendicecream.com/hisoficecrea.html

The first frozen dessert is credited to Emperor Nero of Rome. It was a mixture of snow (which he sent his slaves into the mountains to retrieve) and nectar, fruit pulp and honey. Another theory is Marco Polo, 13th century bard and adventurer, brought with him to Europe from the Far East recipes for water ices....said to be used in Asia for thousands of years.
 
 

Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 03, 2008, 19:00 PM
The Abdet website (Excellent company that run active holidays in the Valencian Community) has a nice info page on snow wells during "modern" times

http://www.abdet.com/history-culture/neverras-snow-wells/snow-wells.html

I'm not making a lot of progress finding a specific Moorish lord that had a penchant for Ice Cream and sent out his slaves to collect ice for this purpose...... (Finding interesting anecdotes about Boabdil's skills as a lover though..(Sigh!) :)

Clive

Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 03, 2008, 19:18 PM
And from the El Pais article
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/andalucia/SIERRA/NIEVES/abrigo/pinsapos/milenarios/elpepuespand/20000128elpand_25/Tes

Quote
La Sierra de las Nieves debe su nombre a una ya extinta industria nevera. Desde la época musulmana, los vecinos de Tolox y Yunquera recogían nieve de la sierra y la guardaban en pozos, donde obtenían hielo que transportaban después al resto de Andalucía. El método consistía en depositar la nieve en pozos verticales, de los que se recogía el hielo a través de galerías laterales practicadas en la roca. Las viejas crónicas recuerdan cómo en 1624 los neveros de la sierra recibieron un importante pedido, y tuvieron que trasladar gran cantidad de hielo al Coto de Doñana, donde el duque de Medinasidonia ofreció una cacería en honor del rey Felipe IV.

A tantalizing clue "desde la epoca musulmaan"

And what was on the menu over 100 years after the musulman had been seen off the land.... in 1624 in honour of the King?

Iced creamed purple Gallinule :)

Clive
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: nick on January 03, 2008, 20:34 PM
General info on pozos de España here
http://html.rincondelvago.com/pozos-de-hielo.html
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on January 03, 2008, 21:22 PM
Interesting reading Nick.... Thanks...


I'll be back....
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 14, 2008, 20:24 PM
Hi there to those wishing to know a little more about ice wells etc. 

As a result of thinking about Schloss Schwoebber and the ice house I googled and found - this:
http://www.schlosshotel-muenchhausen.com/site_eng/home/index_fs.htm (My old flat  three floors up on right hand side) 

So startled after more than 35 years to see it again I sent an email explaining about the memory of the ice house in the park. And if the Meiers were still around would they give them my regards.......... This morning I received a letter from Frau Meier, equally amazed that we have made contact after all this time and she sent me a plan of the old ice house.   This is in her hand - I am trying to remember how old she is now - she has to be over 80, Bless her. She has been very precise.  Again note the importance of hay bales.
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 15, 2008, 00:14 AM
Greetings SueMac,
Many thanx for that bit of Sherlockholmesing and please relay my thanx to Frau Meier for her kind contribution to furthering iberianatureforumers' knowledge of past times. I was struck by the tea-house on top - would it have overlooked the lake or something, or was it some kind of folly?

Regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 15, 2008, 01:18 AM
PS.
I think I meant convey, not relay, my thanx - :booklook:
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on January 15, 2008, 09:18 AM
Hi TP
I had a balcony that looked out over the park so it was my little bit of home from home.  If my memory serves me it was in the 18thC that the park was landscaped with English Specimen trees and walks so a little folly of a teahouse  in the park would fit into landscape gardening at that time.  The park then led onto the lake which was against the west side wall.  There were two swans who graced this lake.  Hans - cant remember the name of the other one.  One of my stark memories of the pine forests that surrounded the land was the screaming of animals who had rabies and the old wolf traps that I discovered by accident one day while walking with my 3 year old daughter!!

I have a problem now - I want to go and take up Sigrids offer of a visit......
All the bestSueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on January 15, 2008, 12:44 PM
Greetings SueMac and All,
The two swans weren't by any "odd occurrence" Little Hans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_complex#Little_Hans:_a_case_study_by_Freud) and Little Anna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_O. ) - (Technodevil goes here)

Regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: spanishfreelander on January 15, 2008, 20:47 PM
Hi Clive,
Was there no-one drinking "Vodka and Coke" back in those days in Grazalema?
Need a good scoop of ice in the summer for one of those..lol
Dave
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: nick on February 05, 2008, 14:27 PM
Some friends of mine gave me yesterday a lovely book of a old photos of Barcelona. In it there is a photo from the 1960s of an ice seller with a cart laden with large blocks of ice.  I commentated that I was surprised to see such an image from so late in the century. Of course I had forgotten that fridges didn't arrive in Spain en masse to the mid-1960s. Three of my friends (in their mid 40s) remembered the ice sellers. One has a long scar on her finger from the age of four when it got trapped in the metal door of the ice cupboard.
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on February 05, 2008, 16:03 PM
I have just found out that up in the mountains here there was a huge bell that took 2 men to carry called the "campana de nieves". There is no one in the village of Grazalema that remembers anything about the snow wells now just vague memories of uncles or parents that used to work the snow.

The bell was last mentioned in a book called "the people of the Sierra", a fascinating book by an anthropologist called Julian Pitt-Rivers. In it he mentions a "Vito".. A man left his wife and children in the village to set up home in the valley with a women of bad reputation and all the locals showed their disapproval by visiting his house every night to make lots of noise. It happened in 1930 and was the biggest vito in living memory back then when the book was written in the 50's... They brought down the "bell of the snow" from the mountain to ring it all night...

So now I am after finding this bell of the snow or at least what happened to it..... I have no idea what it was for. The peaks where the snow wells were are around 5 kilometres from Grazalema so maybe it was there in case of an accident on the mountain? Or maybe it was for telling people below that there was ice ready to be collected...

Clive
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on February 05, 2008, 17:03 PM
Greetings Clive and All,
Only ref. I have come across googling is the following, but when I started reading through it looking for further info., turns out it's a translation of something by Swift:
Quote
Sin embargo, allí están las prohibiciones, los toques de alarma, todos
prestos a entrar en movimiento, las campanas de nieve de la datura por si
acaso nos avisarían de poner esta barrera infranqueable entre los otros y
nosotros.
(However, there are the prohibitions, the alarms - all ready to go off, the snow bells of the datura * just in case we are told to set up this impassable barrier between them and us.) Looked promising - with me thinking that datura was some sort of Roman defensive construction left over in the hills ...

Trouble is the only reference to datura in Spanish is http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_stramonium (Jimson Weed, Gypsum Weed, Ditch Weed, Stink Weed, Loco Weed, Korean Morning Glory, Jamestown Weed, Thorn Apple, Angel's Trumpet, Devil's Trumpet, Devil's Snare, Devil's Seed, Mad Hatter, Crazy Tea, Malpitte, The Devil's Balls)  which leads one to doubt its relevance ...

Oh, well, these things are sent to ...

Regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Sue on February 05, 2008, 23:08 PM


...although datura is a bell shaped flower...
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on February 07, 2008, 23:18 PM
Greetings Clive 'n' All,
Making headway on the snowbell front: going over past postings on this thread I came across Nick's excellent Rincón del Vago link (missed it first time round) which is very complete, and the following struck me:
Quote
El llenar un pozo de tamaño medio suponía entre recoger nieve, cortar hielo, transportarlo, llenar la nevera adecuadamente y acondicionarla, cerca de tres semanas de trabajo para una treintena de peones. Había alguna que requería el trabajo de 135 peones durante un mes entero. Estas operaciones y las de mantenimiento suponían una importante fuente de ingresos para el sostenimiento de jornaleros y familias humildes durante el invierno, época en la que carecían de trabajo en el campo.

And by one of those odd whatchamallems of Simon's, the phone rang and my friendly-neighbourhood historian was able to confirm my hypothesis, prompted by Clive's
Quote
Or maybe it was for telling people below that there was ice ready to be collected...
that the poor people (peones and jornaleros) were summoned to the hills with the first and successive snows to fill the wells. As for the bell itself, the most likely outcome is that it would have been melted down, a common source of income when straits were dire, either before or during the civil war.

Snowdrops-keep-falling-on-me-'ead regs.,
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on February 08, 2008, 00:34 AM
How old are these snow wells?

I'm inclined to agree with Clive, and to believe that the ice was used to preserve fish - BUT in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book which I mentioned previously (somewhere on pg. 1 of this epic) there is no mention of the hard-won ice being used for anything OTHER than ice-cream making!
The events described in the book seem to date from around 1865.

I still haven't checked out that ice-house-shaped stone building down by the port in Cartagena...

Can anybody tell me, where are the nearest ice-wells and ice-houses to me? I think it was SueMac who said that there were some in the mountains near Murcia. If I knew the precise location I might be able to drag some of the crew over there...

Jill
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on February 08, 2008, 08:17 AM
Hi Jill

The Pozos de Nieves are nearly at the top of the highest pont in the Sierra Espuna, near the air force station!!  I was reading some stuff again this week about Espuna and the article said they used donkeys to carry the ice up and down the mountain for the icecream making.  I dont know if you saw the drawing about the old ice house in Schwoebber which was used as refrigeration as well as icecream making.

Nice to see you are back
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on February 08, 2008, 11:45 AM
Incredible to think of people going to all that effort just for an ice lolly!
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on February 08, 2008, 13:29 PM
I guess an icecream that equates to something like best cornish ice cream would have been as far away for most people as moon dust is to most of us.  Look dont touch.........
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on February 08, 2008, 14:51 PM
Hi all

You all seem a little fixated on ice cream and the recent past :)  We have a lot of links and info now on this but has anyone come across anything in English about the use of snow wells over 700 years and up to 1400 years ago...? (approx)

"desde la epoca musulman" is the phrase I keep finding...

Nicks link in his previous post is excellent and touches on the subject quite well

Quote
Ateneo de Naucratis (III a.c.) cita los relatos de Chares de Mitilene sobre la campaña asiática de Alejandro el Magno, quien en el sitio de Petra (Jordania) en el 328 a.c. "mandó excavar treinta pozos neveros, que llenó de nieve y cubrió con hojas de roble". En los pasajes de Ateneo se alude a Jenofonte y sus Memorables, Protagórides, Dexicrates, Alexis, Euticles y otros antecesores de la antigua Grecia en relación con la nieve (enfriar bebidas, mezclar con vino ...).

Durante la antigüedad clásica se suceden los comentarios acerca de la utilización de nieve. Plinio el Viejo (s.I a.c.) recomendaba el vino enfriado con nieve. El bilbilitano Marcial (40-104 dc.), Plutarco (46-127) o Petronio describen banquetes con nieve para enfriar la bebida, Suetonio (75-160) comenta los baños enfriados con nieve, procedente de los Apeninos, de Nerón.

It makes me wonder if a study on this has even been done and published in English
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: nick on February 08, 2008, 15:21 PM
There's a job for your Clive!
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on February 08, 2008, 16:17 PM
Hi Clive -  there is loads of stuff in English out there on the historyi of ice cream .  But I only gave the references of what was appropriate to the subject at the time - a little taster, a flavour of the subject even :

Ice Cream History

"The origins of ice cream can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. The Roman emperor Nero ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. In the 13th century, Marco Polo learned of the Chinese method of creating ice and milk concoctions and brought it back to Europe. Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and were served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts. After the dessert was imported to the United States, it was served by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolley Madison.

The use of ice mixed with salt to lower and control the temperature of the mix of ingredients proved a major breakthrough in the creation of ice cream as we know it. The invention of the wooden bucket freezer with rotary paddles facilitated its manufacture. "

So if Nero was eating it in  Rome you can bet your bottom dollar those skills were with the conquering Roman army here in Spain.
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on February 08, 2008, 20:33 PM
Cheers SueMac. Its just fills me with a sense of wonder that the mountains I walk now were a source for "posh" food for the caliphs of Cordoba... What it must have been like collecting snow here in Grazalema at the time of the little ice age in winter!

I hope to find out more about the snow bell that was used here as soon as I can track down the oldest person in the village that can understand my accent and me theirs... :)
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on February 10, 2008, 23:08 PM
Has anybody bought / read / translated the book to which Sue gave the link (near the beginning of this discussion)? It is called Las Pozos de Nieve de Sierra Espuna, and it's by Gines Rosa. According to the blurb, it is a study of the history and the economic and social activity of these "emblematic constructions" from the mid 16th century until the end of the "snow industry" in the 20th century.

This book would almost certainly tell us whether the snow wells really were used exclusively for making ice cream. The more I think about, the more I think that they probably were - but I'd like to know for sure.

If anybody happens to know the exact whereabouts of the building on the front cover, I would really love to see it!
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: nick on February 10, 2008, 23:14 PM
Meat, fish, anything perishable...and cold drinks
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on February 11, 2008, 00:12 AM
Is that what it says in the book, Nick, or are you just guessing?
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on February 11, 2008, 00:31 AM
Hi Jill
My reference to the pozos de nieves by the airstation at the highest point of the sierra are the ones in the photo though last time I saw them they were partially covered in snow so go get em gal. Or we could have a forum summit at the summit? :angel:
SueMac
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Jill on February 11, 2008, 00:44 AM
When I first read the Ingalls-Wilder book I was astounded. The idea that people would spend such a huge amount of time and energy getting ice, just so that they could turn it into ice cream was unbelievable. It still is pretty unbelievable! But I'm beginning to think that using ice to preserve food is a very modern concept.

In past times people were accustomed to preserving their meat and fish by smoking and salting it. And as for drinks - you can make drinks quite cold, even on a hot day, by using one of those earthenware jugs. (You just have to make the jug wet and put it in the breeze.)

People of the past were very self-reliant. I'm not sure that they could have risked depending on ice for the preservation of their food. Until we developed the ability to make the stuff and keep it frozen reliance on ice might have been rather hit and miss. One unusually hot weekend and you could lose the lot...

That, in any event, is the conclusion that I have come to.
But I'm very ready to be corrected by anyone who has read the Pozos de Nieve book!

Jill

P.S. Sue, I'm going to have to find a decent map. It's hard work getting this crew to abandon ship and take to the hills, but if I mention the possibility of snow that will get the girls interested!
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: SueMac on February 11, 2008, 10:23 AM
Tell em you are going to leave them behind and I will pick you up - that should do it.
SueMac

Ice would go nowhere in summer temperatures for preservation of food.  Hence reliance on smoking of food and everyday marketing.


(non relevant content removed. Please try to stay on topic thanks..Wildside)
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on February 11, 2008, 18:05 PM
Yesterday I had lunch with one of the oldest ladies in the village of Grazalema. 86 years old and so sharp she stabbed me with her wit....

She told me that she remembers the aftermath of the big "vito" involving the snow bell that happened in the 1930's but as far as she could remember the snow wells here were worked before she was born and she doesn't know what happened to the big bell of the snow...

This means ice production here stopped before 1930 because if she remembers the big vito from 1930 she would certainly remember if the men were working the sierras for ice...

:)
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Clive on February 26, 2008, 16:08 PM
Hi all,

I found a brief mention of snow wells connecting them to Arab origin at

THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE
ISLAMIC AND CHRISTIAN SPAIIN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES
http://libro.uca.edu/ics/ics7.htm

Quote
A host of other techniques reveal the same pattern of diffusion from east to west within the Islamic world, and thence to the Latin West. The case of sugar refining, a Chinese factory-scale technique which diffused westward with the crop itself, is obvious, although the Christians did not acquire the technique until the early fourteenth century. Of eastern provenance also were the tanning techniques that produced a number of soft leathers: guadameci (after the oasis of Ghadames), which was sheepskin tawed with alum, and Cordoban, which was vegetable-tanned goatskin. These methods were developed in al-Andalus, probably on eastern or North African models, and subsequently diffused in the Christian West. A more inferential case is the snow well, a rudimentary but effective method of preserving snow for use in cooling in summertime. The similarity of snow wells in Spain and in the Islamic East, as well as the citation by Spanish authors (e.g., Monardes) of Arabic pharmacological prescriptions, including snow as an ingredient, lead to an assumption of cultural continuity.(65)

In fact the whole site is quite fascinating...
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Technopat on February 26, 2008, 16:22 PM
Greetings Clive and All,
Many thanx for that site - as you say, fascinating. The following URL gives a list of the full collection of publications and resources they have available:
http://libro.uca.edu/title.htm

Are-there-really-enough-hours-in-a-day-for-all-this? regs.
Technopat
Title: Re: The little ice age..Pozos de nieves..snow wells...
Post by: Petrea on December 03, 2010, 16:40 PM
Better late than never:  I just came across this topic, which dates to the time before I joined this great forum.

On the summit of mt. Maroma (2069m), there used to be pozos de hielo up to the first ice making factories were build in 1931. The business started about 200 years before. The name Maroma is reported to refer to the thick ropes that the neveros  were using in their dangerous work. The ice was taken down to Malaga on mules. Used to preserve fish, cooling drinks - and ice cream!

Source: "There are no Flies... only Foreigners" by Jim Lovelock and Lorraine Cavanagh, a very entertaining book about foreigners moving to a village in Andalucia. It contains a lot of history etc. of the area as well.

I also recall that a guide in Mexico told us about the people of the ancient cultures making ice cream. I think it was the zapotecs of Monte Alba.

So, ice cream is not a new invention!

Saludos
Petrea

PS: I still need to find out what the mountain was called before the "ice age!" I guess it was Tejeda, which is still the name of the highest peak (and the nature park).