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Knowledge of Mining Civilization - Province of Enna

The recognition of the "Knowledge of Mining Civilization" asset - Book of Knowledge - concerns four territorial areas:

Province of Agrigento (data sheet with no. Progr. 7)

Province of Caltanissetta (technical sheet with program number 8)

Province of Enna (technical sheet with no. Progr. 11)

Municipality of Lercara Friddi (PA) (technical sheet with prog. No. 53)

The Good can be correlated with the Good "Holders of the Knowledge of the Mining Civilization" - Book of living human treasures concerning "The surfers" of the Province of Caltanissetta (card n. 10) and those of the province of Enna (card n. 12)

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Photo: web

Information contributions: Region of Sicily, Ignazio Caloggero, Web, 

Note: The populating of the cards of the Heritage database proceeds in incremental phases: cataloging, georeferencing, insertion of information and images. The cultural property in question has been cataloged, georeferenced and the first information entered. In order to enrich the information content, further contributions are welcome, if you wish you can contribute through our area "Your Contributions"

Disclaimer note

Card insertion: Heritage Sicily 

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Technical sheet prepared by: Region of Sicily - Department of cultural heritage and Sicilian identity - CRicd: Regional center for inventory, cataloging and documentation and Sicilian regional film library 

 
Intangible Heritage Register
N. Prog.
11
Bene
Knowledge of Mining Civilization
Book
REI - Book of knowledge
Approval date
25-01-2006
Category
knowledge
Province
Enna
Location
Central southern Sicily
Common
 
Local denomination
 
Chronological News
Already in the first centuries of the Roman Empire there is news of some Christians condemned by the courts "to metalla”In Sicily, or forced to dig in quarries and mines for the extraction of raw materials. Since then, sulfur and salt were the main materials extracted and left for the most distant shores of the empire and the countries connected to it by commercial ties. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the surge in demand for sulfur for the production of gunpowder motivated the opening of many extraction sites and the creation of tunnel mines to replace the open-cast quarries (le pirrere) which until then had satisfied the market. Thus the mining poles of Gallizzi, Floristella, Grottacalda, Giummentaro, Volpe, Salinella, Caliato were born around Enna; in the district of Aidone the great pole of Baccarat, in Calascibetta the mine of Realmese. Throughout the nineteenth century the mines were the pivot for the life of the entire center of Sicily: incredibly dense masses of miners, workers, workers and technicians, lived their entire lives in close contact with the mineral, sacrificing their childhood and youth with only the company of the canary and with the fear of ending their days crushed by the weight of the earth parched by the sun.
recurrence
-
Data
 
opportunity
 
Function
 
Actors
 
Guests
 
Description
The mining civilization in the Ennese area represented, together with agriculture, the greatest productive tradition. Over the centuries, it has generated not only a transformation of the local economy, but also a social change in the productive sphere due to the large number of workers affiliated to the work in the mine.
The mining of sulfur in central Sicily reached its moment of maximum economic importance at the end of the last century, only to be hit by an irreversible crisis that lasted for a long time and which inevitably led to the abandonment of a heritage made not only of social history, but also of extremely significant structures, systems and finds.
Among the sulfur smelting techniques, in addition to limestone and Gill furnaces, there are also others. Flotation can be considered as the only alternative to merger. This system consists in the separation of the mineral from the gangue with the use of substances and procedures that favor its detachment. In practice, the extracted material is triturated and then suspended in a liquid, generally water, to which a "bubbling" agent is added. The mixture makes the material soak from the rest of the gangue and allows its physical separation. The term “flotation” derives from the possibility of using different chemical compounds used as floating agents.
The Frasch method, on the other hand, differs from traditional techniques, as it combines in a single cycle of operations both the extraction and the smelting of the mineral with purity values ​​of the product that cannot otherwise be obtained without resorting to refining. The process consists in the interception, by means of mechanical drilling, of the sulphurous vein at variable depths, in the melting on site by means of water and water vapor at high temperature and in the transport of the mineral to the surface, through a pipe, while the state remains of fusion. Outside, the molten sulfur is collected in tanks and then moved to a storage container. The considerable technological content of this method is matched by the need for a significant amount of energy necessary for the operation of the material.
Finally, the milling consists in the pulverization of high quality raw sulfur or refined sulfur. The crushed sulfur in a metal crusher is brought to the crusher consisting of a base of 2 meters in diameter on which two circular mills rotate. The powder obtained is mechanically transported inside tumblers with an internal sieve in metal mesh and an external one in silk. The sulfur dust that passes through the metal mesh constitutes the "molito" which is then detached. The part held by the net and the silk fabric is sent back to milling.
 
References
Addamo, Sebastiano. 1989. Sulfur of Sicily. Palermo: Sellerio.
 
Rebecchini, Giuseppe. 1991. The sulfur routes in Sicily. Rome: Workshop.
 
Make it, Francesco. 1987. Sicily in the 50s: studies and testimonies. Naples: Guide.
Sitography
 
Filmography
 
Discography
 
Notes
In the Ennese basin there are numerous equipped mining areas, ie those redevelopment areas relating to the operation of mining basins that affect one or more municipalities.
A list with the most significant follows.
 
Floristella-Grottacalda
Municipalities of Enna and Piazza Armerina.
It is one of the largest Sicilian mining sites, whose opening dates back to the early 800th century. Owned by the Pennisi family of Acireale until 1963, then passed into the hands of the Sicilian Mining Authority, the Floristella mine continued its activity until 1987.
The importance of this park is given by its historical relevance and by the pre-existing architectural features of both mines. Furthermore, in them you have full knowledge and awareness of the various extraction techniques that followed the history of the sulfur culture.
 
Gaspa- Latorre and Pagliarello
Municipality of Villarosa.
The importance of this park is linked to the extreme environmental importance of the places.
 
Zimbalio- Giangagliano
Municipality of Assoro.
Significant in this mining area is the presence of some extremely important finds (the wooden castle in Zimbalio, with cage mechanisms controlled by flat ropes) and the environmental value of the area (the valleys of Assoro which express a certain austerity in line with the mining setting).
 
Baccarato Pintura Mazzarino
Municipality of Aidone.
These are three small mines, located a short distance from each other, closed in 1963. Only some structures remain visible such as the "calcheroni", a huge tower for the "cage", that is a sort of elevator , and some remains of the railway structures. Here a redevelopment of the area could be considered, both for the presence of these artefacts and for the surrounding environment.
 
Mine Face Washed
Municipality of Leonforte.
Here you can see the "Gill" furnaces, a relatively recent system of furnaces for melting sulfur.
Author Card
Francesca Maria Riccobene
 
 
SHEET N. 53

Intangible Heritage Register

N. Prog. 53
Good: Knowledge of Mining Civilization
Book: REI - Book of knowledge
Approval date: 27/06/2006
Category: Knowledge
Province: Palermo
 
Common
Lerch Friddi
Local denomination
 
Chronological News
The mining civilization in the town of Lercara Friddi developed following the discovery of a rich sulfur balloon vein in 1828, generating a process of economic and cultural development that also brought exploitation and human disasters.
From a development process that began in the first half of the nineteenth century, the crisis in the mining sector, which hit Sicily around the 60s, generated a profound employment emergency for the Palermo town.
recurrence
-
Data
 
opportunity
 
Function
 
Actors
 
Guests
 
Description
The fulcrum of the history, especially economic, of Lercara Friddi is the discovery of the sulfur deposits, unique in the province of Palermo.
Underground workers, adult pickaxes or carusi, sustained inhuman rhythms characterized by shifts in a continuous cycle of eight hours locked up in narrow spaces, poorly lit and poorly ventilated, where humidity, high temperatures and impurities were harmful to their health.
The extraction of the mineral was done manually by pickaxers and the material was carried on the shoulder. From 1800 onwards an elevator was used for the transport that not only led the miners into the meanders of the cave but carried the sulfur to the surface which was then deposited in trolleys and led to processing.
The sulfur mineral was melted to remove impurities and cast into molds. The continuation of knowledge in the sulfur processing technique led to a change in the same. Originally a type of oven called calcarone was used which released, however, harmful fumes not only for the cultures, but above all for the health of the workers. This method was soon prohibited and replaced by the Duvand machine which, however, failed to completely eliminate sulfur dioxide. Specifically, the limestone technique was developed in 1851 and was characterized by a net increase in yield. The construction of the limestone required little caution: it was enough to identify a portion of land well sheltered from the winds, not far from the entrances of wells and drops, possibly not in correspondence with the subsoil. On a circular area with a certain slope, the enclosure was traced, the external wall that identified the shape and characteristics of this sort of large oven without a cover. At the lowest point, there was the "death", that is the place of communication between the inside of the oven and the outside during all the melting phases. The construction had to be well done in order not to allow air to enter and cause the sulfur to ignite unintentionally.
The basic principle is that of a fusion fueled, except for a short initial phase, by the combustion of sulfur. The worker in charge of managing the limestone, "ardor”, Provided the ignition with branches impregnated with sulfur that were inserted in characteristic points of the limestone itself, where a slow melting began. This could last even 20-30 days. Then followed the second phase, that of production, when, having pierced the door of death with a red-hot iron, the liquid mineral began to come out, pouring into truncated pyramid shapes with a capacity of 75 kg. The content of the shapes, solidified in "pani" (or "balate”In dialect), it was stacked waiting to be transported to the place of sale or boarding.
 
Compare cards:
SHEET N.7 "Knowledge of Mining Civilization"
SHEET N.8 "Knowledge of Mining Civilization"
SHEET N.11 "Knowledge of Mining Civilization"
References
Addamo, Sebastiano. 1989. Sulfur of Sicily. Palermo: Sellerio.
 
Caruso, Danilo and Corrado, Pirrello, edited by. 2008. Lercara Friddi mines. Lercara Friddi: Cartastampata cocio-cultural association.
 
Make it, Francesco. 1987. Sicily in the 50s: studies and testimonies. Naples: Guide.
 
Zanna, Gianfranco, edited by. 2010. Memory, Beauty and future of Sicilian sulfur mines. Palemo: Luxograph.
Sitography
 
Filmography
 
Discography
 
Notes
In 1874 a commission of inquiry was set up by the Minister of Industry to investigate the working conditions of the miners of Larcara Friddi. An alarming situation emerged from the investigation from the point of view of the working conditions and the inhuman exploitation of minors who were bought by families, fueling a real slave trade.
The investigation ended by proposing a substantial improvement in the living conditions of workers, a ban on hiring women and a ban on hiring workers under the age of twelve, proposing particular protections for those aged between twelve and twenty-one.
In this awareness campaign, the figure of the Lercarese doctor Alfonso Giordano stood out and managed to cure a parasitic anemic form from which miners were affected: hookworms.
Author Card
Francesca Maria Riccobene
 

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