The deep basin before you is the relic of one of the lime kilns used to build the mausoleum. Lime has been used as construction material for more than 2000 years. The shape of these ovens hasn’t changed since the Antiquity.
This oven is a perfect sample of its kind. It had two stone vaulted chambers: the lower one for the hearth, the top one for combustion. Like most lime kilns, this one is placed at the parting of a slope, with an access at the bottom to feed the hearth, to ventilate and to leave a draft; and another one at the top to load the stones.
For its construction, the stone vault was supported by a wooden frame which could be burnt afterwards. Then, the combustion chamber was filled from the top, from the platform of the slope. It was filled with alternating layers of stones, the higher the level the smaller the stones.
To obtain lime, the limestones were at first slowly heated; then on naked flames for a week at most. The fire was constantly kept alight by the opening at the bottom of the oven, on the side of the slope. If the limestone was to be burnt to a cinder, a temperature of up to 1000° had to be maintained for several days, an important amount of wood capable of giving heat and abundant flames had to be prepared.
After a long cooling down period, the lime was extracted from the oven and transformed into a cooled lime by adding water, in a ditch.
The lime made in these ovens were used as mortar for the interior locking system of the two first levels of the mausoleum.
Now go in front of the mausoleum model which is further down your route.