Corozo (cohune) palm being dried before being used as roof thatch

I show here a mass of corozo palm fronds cut and being dried before being applied to re-thatch a house nearby. The pleasant Q’eqchi’ Mayan person allowed me to photograph all his work.

This house was in the same village where the rustic sleeping accommodations for visitors was roofed by junco (the pseudo-guano palm). This junco looks (to a lay person) as almost identical to a guano palm but is actually not the same plant family and, technically, not even a palm.

I show here a photo essay on the stacks of corozal palm. I had never realized that it should be dried first, since guano is often applied while still green. And I bet if I looked back at all palm-thatching-in-progress photos, that some of the corozo thatch roofing is also applied green. But this individual devoted a sizeable space, and lots of time and energy, spreading out his cohune palms to dry.

It would be helpful to show the entire sequence:

  • Harvesting

  • Cutting the proper size and manner

  • Drying

  • Raising up to the roof

  • Attaching to the roof

  • Doing the top part (which often is now done with folded tin to safe time)

But it is entirely coincidental when we arrive in a Mayan village whether anyone is doing a roof or not. So we photograph what we see, and if someday funding is available, we can ask local experienced thatchers to so all the steps and stages so we can photograph each one by one.


My personal experience with palm thatch roofs in Guatemala.

I have always been interested in palm thatched roofs. I slept under a palm thatch roof for 12 months at age 19 while a student at Harvard doing archaeological field work at Tikal.

I spent five seasons sleeping under guano palm front roofs while director of the Projecto Yaxha (this project of FLAAR resulted in the formation of the national park on the north side of Lake Yaxha and adjacent Lake Sacnab).

And last week I slept under a pseudo-guana palm in the middle of nowhere in a really remote area of Alta Verapaz. Plus I have spent many nights sleeping under cohune (corozo) palm thatch roofs.



First posted June 25, 2014

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