Ploughs, herds and chafurdões: vernacular architecture and land use in modern Castelo de Vide (Alto Alentejo, Portugal)

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Abstract

The chafurdões are one of the most characteristic ethnographic buildings in the Alto Alentejo countryside. These are circular drystone structures topped by corbelled domes. Written sources suggest that at least some of them were built from the 17th century onwards. Their usages in the peasant landscapes were numerous: as a shelter for shepherds and farmers, storage facilities for tools and produce, and, less frequently, to keep livestock. Nevertheless, their location, deep within cultivated fields, suggests that they were not permanent housing structures, but rather periodically occupied during certain moments, in which it was necessary to be closer to the fields. Nowadays, many of these structures are still standing, kept by farmers mostly for storage purposes. Their presence in the landscape constitutes an important example of rural cultural heritage that should be further examined and preserved. This paper will consider the distribution of these structures in the countryside, review the techniques used to build them, discuss their seasonal use during agricultural practices of the modern period, and reflect upon their meaning and preservation today, from a cultural heritage perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeasonal Settlement
Subtitle of host publicationin the Medieval and Early Modern Countryside. Ruralia XIII
EditorsPiers Dixon, Claudia Theune
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherSidestone Press Academics
Pages93–104
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6427-011-2
ISBN (Print)978-94-6427-009-9 , 978-94-6427-010-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Ruralia XIII Conference: Seasonal Settlement in the Medieval and Early Modern Countryside - Stirling, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sep 201913 Sep 2019

Conference

ConferenceThe Ruralia XIII Conference: Seasonal Settlement in the Medieval and Early Modern Countryside
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityStirling
Period9/09/1913/09/19

Keywords

  • Vernacular architecture
  • Modern period
  • Corbelled dome
  • Castelo de Vide (Portugal)

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