HALF-BURIED HOUSE CASTRANOVA

HALF-BURIED HOUSE CASTRANOVA, Dolj, 19th century

The plain in the south of Oltenia, spread between the Jiu and Olt rivers, witnessed the existence of an archaic dwelling type, the half-buried house. On the outside, it appears as an irregular mound, covered with weeds of all kinds, under which the roof covering with a thick layer of straws descends to ground level.
Identified in archaeological research since the Neolithic period, the half-buried house developed over time in types and versions with one up to six rooms. The reasons these buildings were perpetuated up to the first half of the 20th century do not illustrate exclusively the owners' economic state. They are rather related to the strong roots of the tradition, to the harsh climate with strong winds and appreciable temperature differences between summer and winter, as well as to the permanent Ottoman incursions to the north of the Danube. Ideally camouflaged in the landscape, the half-buried houses provide warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer.
The half-buried house from Castranova, belonging to Dumitru Gheorghe Măciucă (Mitru Terleanu) and dated at the half of the 19th century, was transferred to the museum in 1949, being one of the last constructions of this kind in the village. For remounting it, pieces from Ion Istrate's half-buried house were also used.
The dwelling plan, in the shape of the letter “T”, includes four rooms. The half-buried house entrance (“gârlici”) is flanked by two wall plates carved in horse-head shapes, aimed to protect the dwelling from perils and evil spirits. Descending on the “gârlici” slope to 1.5 m deep in “the pit with the fire”, one can find the kitchen. Here are a dome-shaped clay lid used for baking bread and preparing meals, numerous iron tools with elegant shapes and punched decorations, copper pans and cauldrons ornamented with crosses, berries and leaves. These are items made by family members or specialized masters from Oltenia (blacksmiths from Castranova, potters from Oboga, copper-smiths from Bârca, etc.).
The kitchen is bordered on the left by a pantry with items that remind of the dwellers' main occupation (agriculture). Among them, the attention is drawn to the bushel, a grain measure dated in 1811. On the right, we find the living room, with an in-wall “blind” stove and small windows. The inventory is completed by objects with a decorative role or used for protecting the family and household, some of them with ancient meaning (rooster crop, duck wing).
In the yard there is also a wayside cross, a fountain and a cornloft.

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