Dargins - Settlements



There were four stages in the evolution of Dargi settlements. In the first stage there were small settlements of kin groups, probably equivalent to a tukhum (see "Kin Groups and Descent"), as attested by archaeological and, in part, ethnographic evidence. In the second stage, between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, settlements grew to encompass several quarters, each occupied by a separate tukhum. In the third stage small, territorially based settlements formed for economic reasons and for defense of the neighboring lands. Such settlements are characterized by their inaccessibility, economy of land, closeness to sources of water, and orientation toward the sun. The buildings are vertical or terracelike, multistoried, and compactly arranged. These villages are of three types— aul, a sizable village; a hamlet; a few households—with three corresponding kinds of social organization. Finally, the fourth stage is the modern Soviet kolkhoz or sovkhoz with modern governance, economy, and buildings and laid out with blocks and streets.

The oldest type of Dargi dwelling consisted of a single room with a hearth in the center. Further evolution involved additional stories, division of the room, and additional structures. The Dargi dwelling combined living and work quarters, but with functional divisions. The most common type in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a two-story or multistory stone building with a yard, buildings for livestock or farm implements beneath the living quarters, and a flat roof. In later stages, the yard and building were covered over with loggias, verandas, or balconies. The most common designs are those with a veranda (often shortened and made into living space; this type is common in the lowlands) and the two-row loggia type with a central corridor (the Kaitag-Sürgin type). In Soviet times the design and plan have been essentially the same, but houses are larger, with a number of rooms having different functions; there is a gabled slate or metal roof, a garden, and plantings.


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