Perhaps it's the "type" of clay? The wiki article also mentions earth in there. When my imagination conjures up pictures of each, I always picture adobe as lighter in color, kind of a tan, and cob as brown... but that's me!
That's cob construction. Adobe and cob are made with the same materials. The difference is the construction method. Adobe is made using sun-dried bricks of clay with straw added (and some sand if necessary). Cob is monolithic construction, using globs or 'cobs' of wet clay/straw/sand mix to build the structure in sand-castle fashion. Adobe bricks have to be mortared into place; cob is joined by poking a stick through each glob into the ones below it, or your fingers if you are really tough!
Perhaps you are right, Kathleen. The original Russian word for this material is - "saman" It may be formed in bricks or used as filler, layer by layer, like it is shown in the movie. It's been used for construction puposes for centures.
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