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This article is part of Project Genesis. This article is about the primitive houses made by the ancient Surresi natives. For the history of the ancient Surresi people, see Surresia. For the ceremony related to the destruction of ghạvîểt, see Ghạ-bos Ceremony.

Ghạvîểt were the mud buildings created by the then semi-nomadic peoples of the Surresi Peninsula between c. 1800 Ʋ - c. 1970 Ʋ.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Construction layout and resources[edit | edit source]

The foundations of ghạvîểt were made by digging a 10'x10' square, usually 2/3 of a foot deep, around a 6'x8' area within. The 6'x8' area would not be dug up, as this would serve as the floor of the ghạvîểt where water could not easily pool and flood the house. Large, flat, brick-like stones that are easily found in the plains in Surresia would be hauled to the unfinished ghạvîểt and placed around the foundation. The "skeleton" of the ghạvîểt would be built next. Four 8 foot poles and two 10 foot poles would be brought to the site of the future ghạvîểt and be thrust into the ground so that the 8' poles would stay at the corners of the foundation, with the 10' poles being thrust halfway between each 8' length of the foundation (the poles would be thrust roughly two feet into the earth so that four poles would appear to be 6 feet tall and two would appear 8 feet tall). The finished product of this process would look similar to Figure TBD. Next, rafters would be made by lashing together a lattice-like structure of wood poles, supported on top of the poles in the ground by mortises that had been burned into the rafter poles. In a region of Surresia where the soil was particularly rich in clay, terracotta tiles would be fired in a kiln and placed upon the rafter "lattice," whereas deeper inland in Surresia ghạvîểt roofs would commonly be thatched with the long grass found there. When the roof and its supporting poles were completed, the clay-rich soil characteristic of Peninsular Surresia would be moistened and mixed with long grass. This fibrous mud mixture would be placed upon the stones surrounding the foundation until it reached the eaves of the roof. A space would be left in one of the mud walls for a door made of woven saplings. Next, a fireplace would be made by carving a hole into one of the mud walls, extending the wall outside to accommodate the fire. In this way the typical ghạvîểt was made.

The reason for this building habit being so different from typical nomadic shelters, which commonly are made from animal hides and are easily constructed and deconstructed, is due to the scarcity of large mammals living in the northern plains of Surresia. As the Surresi had migrated over the centuries and reached the Plain of Gezur, they did not change their building preference, preferring to not use the much greater large mammal population's skins, until finally settling in the Plain of Gezur as a sedentary civilization.

Se-Ghạvîểt[edit | edit source]

Se-Ghạvîểt were variants of ghạvîểt, being larger and circular. These would house the chieftain(s), or Dharv, of the ghạvîểt "encampment." Within these ghạvîểt "encampments" were one to three se-ghạvîểt, and commonly had a radius from 6' to 8.5' and a roof at a height of 7.25'. The roofs were commonly found to be adorned with elaborately detailed terracotta tiles, even where clay was scarce and the other Surresi people camped there had had to thatch their ghạvîểt.

Types and use[edit | edit source]

Ghạvîểt were not solely used for shelter. Ghạvîểt were used as storehouses, kitchens, work rooms, etc. Many ghạvîểt have been found designed in a way suggesting that meats, thatch, and timber were cured and dried within.

Span of usage[edit | edit source]

The time spent living in ghạvîểt camps would amount to roughly 4.5 months including the time spent constructing ghạvîểt. When the time came to leave, the Surresi natives would pack the bare essentials (woven mats, water, pottery, dried meats, tools) and perform the Ghạ-bos Ceremony, lighting resin torches and wielding wooden clubs to demolish the se-ghạvîểt within the encampment. This ritual has made it difficult to research se-ghạvîểt, the remains being a challenge to study. Two camps have been found with intact se-ghạvîểt, as resin for the torches, which were crucial to the Ghạ-bos Ceremony, had not been discovered nearby, leaving the Surresi unable to properly conduct the ritual.