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teitu – thatch – tejado de escoba

 
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is
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:28 am    Post subject: teitu – thatch – tejado de escoba Reply with quote

teitu: pronounced TAY-too. Also known as teito, pronounced TAY-toe. The thatching of the ‘cabanas’ (cabins) of West Asturias, particularly in County Somieu/Somiedo. The name of a stone construction used by highland farmers to provide shelter for cattle and sometimes the herdsmen themselves.

The teitus or teitos of West Asturias can refer to the stone construction itself or to the dry vegetation used to thatch the roofs. Thatched roofs in County Somieu/Somiedo are made of the common broom (Cytisus scoparius). Locally, the broom is known as xiniesta. In Galician, the word is xesta. The verb used for thatching in both Asturian and Galician is teitar.

The broom, a natural insulator, is speared into the nooks of a latticework made of hazelnut branches and affixed onto the roof by bagunas, or intertwined green branches of either hazelnut or willow. These in turn are pegged into the latticework with gabitos, or wooden hooks. This prevents the structure from being damaged by the elements. In this case, the construction is referred to as a ‘teito a baguna’, which is common in County Ibias.

The uppermost part of a teitu construction is known as the cumal or cume (peak). It is an additional part of the thatching often stuffed with layered heather branches to fully seal the construction from water. The constructions of Iron Age Celtic hillforts in Asturias and Galicia are thought to have been thatched with dry vegetation.

Usage examples:

Nenos, tamos achegandonos a los teitos de La Pornacal. [Guys, we are getting close to the thatched stone houses of La Pornacal.]
Nolo anda teitando la cabana que tien pa Veigas. [Nolo is thatching the cabin he owns in Veigas.]
Baxando de La Peral, touparamos un teitu nuna l.lanada. [As we walked down from La Peral, we found a thatched cabin in a flat meadow.]



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Art
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a hollow space inside the roof, or is that a really deep pile of thatch?

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¿Hay un hueco dentro del techo, o es que hay un montón de xiniesta o teitu muy profundo?
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is
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's actually a very good question. I always wondered myself until I learned how to thatch a roof this past summer with a real pro, Armando Grana (tilde over the 'n'). He and Xuaco Lopez, of the Museu del Pueblu d'Asturies in Xixon (Gijon) have a beautifully illustrated book called Los teitos en Asturias.

See the front cover and abstract of their book (in Spanish) here:

http://www.redmeda.com/node/363

Underneath the broom you see in the cabin is a latticework of hazelnut boughs overlaid on structural beams made of oak or chestnut. The roof structure would be the same if you were to do roofing with slate or tile. But in this case, the latticework is what allows you to peg the broom into the structure. So yes, there is less wood involved in the structure.

For the cume or cumal, the uppermost part of the teito, it's literally stuffed with heather or additional broom to create a steep angle that will send water quickly down the sides. As broom has natural water-repellent properties, the water trickles down and falls on the ground. But for this to happen, the broom needs to be tightly packed into the latticework.

From the inside, you will see sticks of broom poking into the structure in all directions. Roofing (teitar) is no easy task, but it's aesthetically amazing and done in sestafeira or andecha style (communal work), it's a grand time.
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