Long House

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Many prehistoric societies in Europe lived in timber long houses. Among the most famous are those of the linear pottery culture, which reach lengths of up to 40 metres. In the later prehistoric and postRoman periods, the term long house is used to describe a rectangular, aisled building incorporating a dwelling and a byre under one roof, although in some cases the byre is not evident. In a true long house of this type, the human beings and cattle are separated by a through passage with doors placed in the centres of the long sides of the building. Archaeologically, the two halves of the long house are often distinguished by the existence of a hearth in the living quarters, a central drain and sometimes stalls in the byre. The purpose of the long house was to stall stock during the wet winter months, and at the same time to provide additional warmth for the farmers. The long house is known from many parts of Europe from late prehistoric times and continued to be used until recent times, with variations in size, arrangement and fabric according to climate and environment.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied