Mills in Alto Aragón — molino aceitero


Aguinalíu is easily reached from the main road between Graus and Benabarre. After about 5 km you'll find a branch to Aguinalíu — just before Torres de Obispo (Molino). This is a narrow winding road running to the south. After a while you'll dive under the main road between Barbastro and Benabarre. It's then another 4 km to your destination. Drop your vehicle at the crossroads at the entrance of the village and walk the branch to the south. You'll soon find the mill: el Torno de las Olivas.

Pictures: 04.x.2022

(1) Molino aceitero de Aguinalíu — overview in 2022

Thanks to the initiative, and the hard work, of villagers of Aguinalíu who form the association Aguinalíu Activa, the site of the almazara which was almost entirely hidden below debris and vege­tation (see our report from 2013) has now been cleaned up (1). We can now easily appreciate the layout of the site and the characteristics of the equipment.
The place is dominated by the impressive canti­lever press, but there is more to discover. From left to right in (1) we recognize first the zone where the olives were crushed (see also 2, 3). Then comes the fireplace with at its right side the vessel for hot water (4). Then we have the press with its accom­panying decanting vessels (5 – 7). Finally comes the weight stone, quintal, with the wooden screw.

(2) Zone where the olives were crushed: zona de trituración.

The zona de trituración (2) , the place where the olives were crushed, occupied a separate space in the construction. The diameter of the grinding zone is 360 cm which is at the high end of the range; most platforms measure less. The edge stone measures 150 cm ∅ which is tall, but sligthly smaller than the 160 cm found in a few other mills (e.g. Banastón, Buera – Los Corrales).
The edge of the grinding area (3) certainly merits a closer look. The ridge is built from conglomerate stone which is carefully cut to size. Notice that the stones are more or less wedge-shaped. The top is thickest and the stones gradually become thinner towards the ground.

(3) Edge of the crushing zone.
(4) Fireplace and hot water basin.

Oil mills need hot water for the extraction process and therefore a fireplace with a watervessel is always present. What I think must have been the fireplace (4) is situated in the main room next to the press (near the pivot point).
Next to the fire a vessel was built from concrete and lined with red enamelled tiles (4) on the inside. It is remarkable that the top edge is provided with two gutters that would direct the overflowing water exactly to the feet of someone who is working on the fire. Some steps leading to the platform of the press are also present (4 right, 1 left).

(5) Metal armor around the base of the press.
(6) Vessel where oil is collected.

The main beam of the press (1, 5) is composed from 4 smaller beams. Four is the most common number, though it happens that the beam is compo­sed of 6 (like in Mas de Ribera – Arén) or only 2 (like in Castarlenas) smaller beams.

Sometimes the logs undergo only minimal trim­ming, but here each beam is exceptionally well debarked, edged and trimmed. Near the pivot point the composition is reinforced with metallic straps forming kind of a harness (5).

The marrano (7b) is heavily weathered and it is difficult to appreciate its original shape, but it was likely a simple square plane; not a dish like in several other mills. The marrano brings the pres­sure of the cantilever over on the heap of mats loaded with olive paste.

This heap was placed on the regaifa (7a), which is a circular stone with a gutter on its perimeter and a spout that drains the mixture of oil and water into a first decanter vessel (7e).

(7) Overview of the extraction zone.

Through a short gutter (7c, 6) the oil flows from the first vessel (7e) over into another container which is dug into the floor of the workplace (6, below the pallet next to 7c). This vessel (6) is lined with red enamel tiles.

Path: Home / Alto Aragón: old mills / Aguinalíu
Learn about the parts of a mill
Visit the mills; catalogue
Literature and other websites
© and e-mail: