Stone-paved threshing floor at Avgonima

Hikers on the route through this captivating valley can enjoy glades and clearings where small “wells” of water accumulate. Numerous wild mushrooms grow among the rocks here. Traversing the path, travellers can still discern signs of the agricultural and pastoral production of ages past. Most prominent among these remains is the imposing threshing floor. It is a flat, circular space used in the threshing of grain (wheat, barley etc.). Threshing was a traditional agricultural process for separating the edible part of a grain from the straw. The threshing floor is surrounded by rectangular dry-stone slabs 50 cm in height. Dry-stone masonry is a traditional construction method without the use of mortar, used both throughout Chios and in the wider Mediterranean basin. The threshing floor was designed to be flat and rigid. Pack animals, such as oxen or horses, would be driven in circular motions over the floor to thresh grains.

Threshing floors were usually built on ground that was open and exposed to the wind, such as atop hills or close to streams. Immediately after the harvest, farmers would transport the harvested grain to the threshing floor. There, they would arrange their crop in a circular shape, leaving space at the centre of the circle. They’d then lead a donkey or ox into the threshing floor, bridle it with the volosyros -a heavy, elongated threshing board with metal rivets affixed to its underside- and thus, with one farmer standing atop the threshing board and leading the animals, the threshing would begin. Another farmer would use the dikrani -a wooden fork that resembled a rake- to scramble the crops and push them underneath the volosyros.
The next stage in the process was the winnowing, which began immediately after the threshing was completed. The farmers would use winnowing fans to toss the threshed hay into the air, and the wind would separate the grain from the straw. The grain would then be gathered into sacks and sent to the mill, while the hay would be bundled into bales and stored for livestock feed. The process involved various tools, such as the “violistis” (a type of sieve with large, circular holes), shovels, rakes, buckets etc.

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