Group of Olla Lids
Here are the lids for the Ollas. In the foreground, you notice two lids have handles. A customer wanted a one gallon olla to drink from. Because the Ollas are porous, water seeps through. The olla can be used below ground for irrigation or it can be used as a ‘refrigerator’ to cool your drinking water. Thousands of years ago, ollas were used to cool water and also used as a larger container, into which a smaller clay vessel was inserted. This smaller vessel was ‘glazed’ with terra sigillata, which means sealed earth, and would hold perishable foods like eggs, preventing the cooling water of the olla seeping into it.. Then it would be lowered into the cool water of the olla and the eggs would be fresh for several days. Ancient man had invented refrigeration long before modern man! The olla would then be placed in a shaded hallway in the home where outside air was drawn through the structure into a common courtyard. This courtyard would be in the central part of the structure, acting like a chimney, creating a cooling draft for the home and for the olla, further increasing its refrigerating efficiency. We see this type of home constructure in New Mexico, the Mediterranean Basin and other parts of the world.