After the short Easter break the pending tasks have been resumed in La Encartada. Specifically, the renovation project for the first block of workers’ houses of this factory included a preliminary archaeological exploration to determine the quality and interest of the remains located in the semi-basement of the house, which seemed to belong to an hydraulic foundry. The results of this first evaluation have been highly satisfactory: as well as identifying the workshop underneath the houses, the old coal bunkers were found in the adjacent area. The documentation task indicates that probably it is the early foundry which Balmaseda Council owned in the late 15th Century. It would later be sold to private individuals in the early 17th Century, and in the middle of the 19th Century it was remodelled and turned into a mill with four pairs of millstones. Its concession and waterfall would later be used by the beret factory.
After this first work, a thorough archaeological project will be drafted, including the total excavation of the area where the foundry was situated. Consequently, the time schedule for the work has been redesigned, and it is expected that the outdoor tasks will take around four weeks. The amount and quality of the preserved structures, as well as their being fitted within the housing renovation project, will be the object of subsequent analysis, once the field archaeological documentation has concluded.
As a whole, the finding has great importance, since it may be the first 2-crucible hearth excavated in the Cantabrian area. As well as enriching the patrimonial and cultural heritage of La Encartada, it will bring about a greater and better knowledge of the history and evolution of these devices.