Two broad research topics, namely house and family, are covered jointly, because the house is not understood without a family living in it, that is, it is the inhabited house that is under study. This volume focuses primarily on the traditional rural homestead, committed to an agricultural-pastoral way of life, without excluding those in certain urban areas, such as small cities, and fishermen’s houses.
To start with, data regarding settlement patterns in the territory are presented. Although there is no clear-cut division, dispersion settlements prevail on the Atlantic watershed, and concentration on the Mediterranean side. The following issues about the house are likewise addressed: name, orientation and location; structural elements, including roofing, foundations and walls, doors and windows; construction materials, mostly timber, stone and adobe; internal layout of farmsteads, fishermen’s dwellings and urban housing; house decoration; hearth, lighting and kitchen; furniture and fixtures for the different rooms; house cleaning, laundering of clothes and linen, and dishwashing; and hearth and home rites.
As far as the family is concerned, multi-generational households were the norm in the past, both in rural and urban areas. Insight is provided into family and kinship; family assets and its transfer, freedom to bequeath and core assets in the charter system, wills and successions in territory under common law; communal life of the spouses, duties and occupations of husband and wife, nearly equal rights in the marital partnership, main role of women in the education of the children and the passing on of values and beliefs, relations of the spouses with their families of origin on patron saint festivities and family gatherings, particularly funeral ceremonies; family honour, solidarity between relatives in the event of misfortune, serious illness or death and orphanhood, and reconciliation after quarrels and healing of rifts.
Fieldwork conducted in 87 localities (Álava: 14; Bizkaia: 16; Gipuzkoa: 17; Navarre: 27; Northern Basque Country: 13). Research campaigns carried out in 1998 (on the house), 1999 (furniture and fixtures) and 2000-2001 (family and kinship). Date of publication: 2011.