Abandoned rural pre-industrial heritage: study of the Riamonte mil complex (Galicia, Spain)





mill, ethnographic heritage, rural construction, 3D modelling


Each concello (municipality) in Galicia is home to a large number of pre-industrial rural heritage assets integrated into the landscape. Among them are the water mills, usually made up of small constructions that are difficult to reuse in their original function. They are not easily compatible with other uses either. Their current state of abandonment requires their cataloguing and correct valorization as pre-industrial archaeological heritage. These constructions must be conceived as interrelated constructive groupings, in their original physical and social context. A good example of this is the unpublished sample of the Riamonte milling complex. Its study, digitalization and virtual recreation by means of computer-assisted graphics have great potential for dissemination to the public and better integration into the nature trail near the riverbed. Graphically presenting archaeological heritage through virtual media helps to promote social understanding in order to raise awareness of the importance of its protection and irreplaceable nature, especially in case of those vestiges lacking sufficient security to survive. Due to the large amount of vegetation around the wall remains, a rigorous planimetric survey of the entire complex was carried out, followed by three-dimensional (3D) modelling of representative elements. In addition, applying a rigorous principle of transparency, a chromatic differentiation is made in the 2D and 3D virtual reconstructions between already existing and newly added elements. Regarding the 3D model, a historical-archaeological evidence scale is used, allowing a graphic identification of the authenticity degree required to provide reliability in the reconstruction of lost or altered parts. This facilitates virtual recreation interpretation among future researchers from different disciplines. The Riamonte mill complex is part of a typology typical of the region, in which the use of virtual models makes it possible to reach the scales of the territory, the building and the machinery, facilitating the correct understanding of this cultural heritage.


  • Graphic tools and virtual reconstruction applied to watermills contribute to their overall understanding as an anthropogenic landscape.
  • Virtual reconstruction of the milling mechanisms allows us to understand the mill operation beyond the mere construction preservation.
  • The Riamonte mills are an example of a group of canal mills linked to a single dam and with a social typology of inheriting turns to grind.


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Author Biographies

Pablo Xosé Pouso-Iglesias, Freelance in architecture and agricultural engineering

Architect and Agricultural Technical Engineer, Free exercise of the profession

Gustavo Arcones-Pascual, Universidad Europea Miguel de Cervantes

Department of Technical Education

Santiago Bellido-Blanco, Miguel de Cervantes European University

Department of Technical Education

David Villanueva Valentín-Gamazo, Miguel de Cervantes European University

Department of Technical Education


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How to Cite

Pouso-Iglesias, P. X., Arcones-Pascual, G., Bellido-Blanco, S., & Villanueva Valentín-Gamazo, D. (2023). Abandoned rural pre-industrial heritage: study of the Riamonte mil complex (Galicia, Spain). Virtual Archaeology Review, 14(28), 95–109. https://doi.org/10.4995/var.2023.18652