The beds are kept artificially moist by the application of water brought from the surface, and the different galleries bear crops in succession.
In most cases, owing to the mountainous character of the country, horizontal galleries are possible.
Externally it is an irregular octagon, each face consisting of a lower storey with a semicircular arch (in three cases occupied by a portal), with sculptures by Antelami, four tiers of small columns supporting as many continuous architraves, and forming open galleries, and above these (an addition of the Gothic period) a row of five engaged columns supporting a series of pointed arches and a cornice.
East to west; its general outline is rectangular, and it appears to have consisted of three separate piles united by galleries or lines of lower buildings.
Heaviside in 1887 succeeded in communicating by telephonic speech between the surface of the earth and the subterranean galleries of the Broomhill collieries, 350 feet deep, by laying above and below ground two complete metallic circuits, each about 24 m.
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