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Bad ideas never die. That's one of those south american hornos. When I was looking they were being imported from Uruguay, of all places. Who knows, if you plugged the hole, built a real vent, and swaddled it in insulation, you might even have a working oven.
Is that a flue pipe or a sleeve for a thermocouple?
It was explained to me once that many of the Southwestern and South American Hornos had that extra vent in the back to help get the fire started. Has to do with the height and shape of the dome. Apparently they do not draw well enough and need a little help, due to the beehive shape.
Interesting. It creates problems with the inner dome creating pressure on the outer dome as it expands. I tried putting one in at floor level on my second oven. It has the advantage of being able to fire with the front door in place. Don't really understand why it's so high up, is it an intake or an extra exhaust? Looks too small for either to me, but if lots of them use this system, presumably it works.
I would presume that it is an exhaust that allows a draw of air through the oven during firing. The subject was brought up by Dan Wing at a wood fired baking class I attended. He didn't elaborate much on the topic other to note that it was difficult to get a fire going in these ovens if the vent was not present.
Don't put them down too much. I tried a central flue for my first oven and it worked really well. The main disadvantage is that quite a lot of heat is lost up the flue during fire up, which means they would use more fuel than an equivalent sized cross draft oven. But they also have the advantage of no front flue to work past which also saves space and they're simpler to build, plus no smoke at start up and they draw really well. But you do need a damper or cap on the flue to lock in that heat for roasting or baking.