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GFC-SMC Settlements- Building Types

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  • Rick A. Riedlinger
    Settlements- Building Types The Goths in the Fourth Century By Peter Heather and John Matthews, 1991 ISBN 0853234264 Actual houses are of two types. More
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 13, 2005
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      Settlements- Building Types
      The Goths in the Fourth Century
      By Peter Heather and John Matthews, 1991
      ISBN 0853234264

      Actual houses are of two types. More numerous are sunken huts (in
      German, Grubenhäuser). These are usually rectangular, occasionally
      oval or half-oval, and cut into the ground to varying degrees; some
      would have had little more than their roof showing above ground, most
      were about half-submerged. They were small in size, the average floor
      area varying from 5-16 square metres. The floor was generally of
      beaten earth, walls of wattle and daub, and rushes were used for
      roofing; each house was also provided with a hearth. Near the Black
      Sea, stone was often used for the floors and lower parts of houses.
      Often side by side with sunken huts in the same settlement,
      excavators have also found surface dwellings, which are found in two
      sizes. The largest are 6-8 by 11-16 metres (66-128 square metres), of
      the type known in German as Wohnstallhäuser. As this name implies,
      these houses were divided in two, with living quarters in one part
      and animals in the other, which, to provide extra protection,
      generally faced the prevailing wind (Wohn means dwelling, and Stall a
      stable). Smaller surface dwellings have also been found with a floor
      size of 10-30 square metres. Both kinds of surface dwelling were
      timber-framed with plastered walls, rushes once again being used for
      roofing, and with beaten earth floors and hearths. Not all these
      house types are found throughout the Culture.

      In part, the different house-types must reflect socio-economic
      differences. Wohnstallhäuser are usually associated with extended
      family groups, and larger surface dwellings probably also betoken
      greater wealth than the smaller sunken huts. Some of the variation in
      building style may also derive from the fact that the Culture was the
      product of a population of disparate ethnic origins.

      Wohnstallhäuser are typical of the Germanic cultures of central
      Europe, and have not been found in earlier archaeological cultures of
      either Romania or the southern USSR. They can thus possibly be
      associated with the Gothic immigrants who dominated this area
      militarily in the late third and fourth centuries. Sunken huts are
      well-attested in earlier Dacian cultures of the Carpathians. In their
      use of stone, similarly, Sîntana de Mures/Cernjachov houses of the
      North Pontic region are similar to those of previous cultures of the
      area, and it seems likely that at least some of these sites continued
      to be occupied by the indigenous population. Simply to attribute
      Wohnstallhäuser to Goths, and sunken huts to an indigenous
      population would, however, be rash. Within the Culture, sunken huts
      are found well away from the Carpathians in southern Russia, where
      they were not previously common, and *Ammianus' evidence makes it
      clear that there were Goths north of the Danube in what is now
      Romania, even though Wohnstallhäuser are absent. Variation in
      house types may well reflect different ethnic origins, but skills and
      styles belonging originally to one group seem to have been adopted
      more generally by all the peoples contributing to the Culture.
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