dugout (shelter)

A dugout or dug-out, also known as a pithouse, pit-house, earth-house, mud hut, is a shelter for humans or domestic animals based on a hole or depression dug into the ground. These structures are one of the most ancient types of human housing known to archeologists. Dugouts can be fully recessed into the earth, with a flat roof covered by ground, or dug into a hillside. They can also be semi-recesssed, with a constructed wood or sod roof standing out. The same methods have evolved into modern "earth sheltering" technology.

Dugouts may also be temporary shelters constructed as an aid to specific activities, e.g., during warfare or in hunting. Also, due to the potential for concealment, they may serve as a hiding place for an ambush.

China

In north China, especially on the Loess Plateau, caves called yaodongs dug into hillsides have been the traditional dwellings from early times. The advantage of a yaodong over an ordinary house is that it needs little heating in winter and no cooling at all in summer.

Scotland

In ancient Scotland, earth houses, also known as yird, Weems and Picts' houses, were underground dwellings, extant even after the Roman evacuation of Britain. Entry was effected by a passage not much wider than a fox burrow, which sloped downwards 10 or 12 ft. to the floor of the house; the inside was oval in shape, and was walled with overlapping rough stone slabs; the roof frequently reached to within a foot of the earth's surface; they probably served as storehouses, winter quarters, and as places of refuge in times of war. Similar dwellings are found in Ireland.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy is a small town in northern South Australia, 846 kilometres north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway. Located in the Australian outback, The harsh summer temperatures and the dominant industry mean that most residents live in caves bored[1] into the hillsides and work underground in mine shafts.

The North American frontier

Enlarge picture
A New Mexico homesteader coming out of his dugout home

Western United States

During the American Civil War, the federal United States government passed the Homestead Act offering free land for those who could "prove up" their claims by living on the land and farming it for a prescribed number of years. Settlers on the newly opened Great Plains found there were not enough trees to build familiar log cabins. As shelter was essential, the frontier farmer utilized ribbons of the thick prairie sod cut as they plowed their virgin land. The strip could be cut into two foot sections, four to six inches deep, to make an almost perfect building block with good insulating properties.

These first homes, often called soddies, were simply small rooms dug into the side of a low rolling hill. The walls were built up with sod blocks to a height of seven or eight feet. Holes were left for purchased doors and windows hauled from the nearest town or railroad point. Cottonwood poles were laid side by side to form a support for a roof made of a thick layer of coarse prairie grass. Over this was carefully fitted a double layer of the sod building blocks. Rain helped the sod to grow and soon the dugout roof was covered with waving grass. Some frontier families found that their cows grazed on their roof, and occasionally had them "drop in" for dinner.

The floor of the dugout home was of dirt or rough wooden planks. Walls were lined with newspapers pasted or pinned up with small, sharpened sticks to keep dirt from flaking into the home's interior. Some families used fabric on their walls while others created a plaster coating from local limestone and sand. The home's comfort and structural stability were maximized when the structure was located on the south side of a low hill, with adequate drainage to provide run-off for rain and melting snow. Most pioneer dugouts had a very short life, being replaced by plank or rock homes when farmers had both time and money to create larger, more traditional homes. However, even when a family did build a house of logs or boards, their domestic animals would often continue to be sheltered in a sod dugout.

Canadian West

In frontier Canada, dugout style shelters were also used by pioneers and settlers. In these cases, the shelter's construction closely reflected the cultures of the various settlers. They ranged from the French-Canadian syle caveux to the Ukrainian burdei.

People of the New World

Many of the ancient peoples of the American continents built semi-permanent houses of poles and brush plastered with mud over a shallow pit in the earth. As these pithouses were very similar to those first built in northeastern Europe 25,000 years ago, pithouse technology may have been carried to the Americas by early nomadic settlers, traveling first through Siberia, and then across the ice bridge between Asia and North America about 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.

An individual pithouse was occupied for an average of about 15 years. By more modern standards, these dwellings were cramped and dark. The centralized hearth created a smoky, cold environment during the winter. Most pithouses are associated with an open air plaza or rooftop where inhabitants carried out most of their daily activities during good weather. In areas suitable for intensive agriculture, groups of pithouses clustered to create communities of varying sizes.

American Northwest

In the Interior Plateau of the British Columbia and in the Columbia Plateau of the Pacific Northwest the remains of a form of pit-house called a quiggly hole or kekuli are common, and come in large groups named quiggly towns, which are correspondingly the remains of ancient villages.

American Southwest

Pithouses were very common structures in the American Southwest during the early and middle periods of the Anasazi, Mogollon and Hohokam cultures, and were also found in cultures extending north and west of the Colorado plateau. The emergence of the pithouse marks the transition between a nomadic hunting-and-gathering livelihood and a settled agricultural way of life which also relied on wild plants and animals for food. Pithouse structures were probably the forerunners of the kivas built later in the Pueblo periods, and share many characteristics with them.

Although the architectural styles used by these people evolved throughout their history, the pithouse remained a basic residential structure. Pithouses are found in isolated rural settings, in conjunction with above ground dwellings and adjacent to the large multi-room cliff dwellings characteristic of the region. Historian Linda Cordell notes that ...the late pithouses are often clues to relatively short-term changes in settlement location and adjustment to climatic fluctuations. (Cordell, p. 164) This appears to be true among the modern Pueblo peoples as well. When the Hopi village of Bacavi was founded in 1909, some groups of people arrived in the late autumn. As there was a limited window of time for building, the new arrivals built pithouses as warm shelters for the winter. Some of these homes remained occupied until the 1970s.

Pithouses were built by excavating a well defined hole into the ground, usually around 6" to 18" deep but occasionally as deep as four to five feet, and creating walls and roof using a pole and adobe technology. The sunken floor of the dwelling is below the frost line and helps moderate both winter and summer temperatures, with the mass of the ground serving as an insulator. In addition, adobe walls gather heat during the day and release it when temperatures drop. The earliest pithouses were round, and varied in size between nine and twenty-five feet in diameter. Around AD 700, pithouse designs became more individualized. Excavations reveal examples based on squares, rectangles and shapes similar to the letter D.

Enlarge picture
A reconstruction shows the pit dug below grade, four supporting posts, roof structure as a layers of wood and mud, and entry through the roof; Step House ruins at Mesa Verde National Park.
These homes were also warmed by a centralized hearth, a fire pit with an air deflector, and side vents and a hole in the roof provided fresh air and evacuated smoke. The placement of the home's entrance varied by locality and archaeological period. Early homes utilized the ventilation stack as an egress by means of a ladder. Later homes expanded the pit into a keyhole shape to create a low sheltered entrance. Interior space was often loosely divided into two rooms, one for storing personal and dry goods and the other as living quarters. Many pithouses included an antechamber, containing storage bins or pits.

Pithouse construction was usually based on four corner posts positioned upright in the pit. These posts were carefully chosen and trimmed to create a branch or fork at the top as a structural support. They were joined by horizontal beams and crossed with ceiling joists. The interior sides of the pit were plastered with clay or lined with stone — either large slabs wedged upright in the soil or courses of smaller stones. The exterior of the pithouse was formed of branches, packed tree bark, or brush and grass. A thick layer of mud on the outside of the roof and walls protected the shelter from the weather. Often the initial mud layer was carefully plastered with a lighter colored clay.

A large number of pithouses have been archaeologicly excavated throughout the American Southwest. Reproductions of these basic family structures exist in museums and tourist information sites, such as the structure at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. National and state parks and monuments showcase pithouse ruins and may include authentic reconstructions such as the Ancient Pueblo structure at Step House ruin, Mesa Verde National Park and a Hohokam structure at the Hardy Site in Fort Lowell, Arizona. chicken

See also

External links

References

  • Cordell, Linda S. Ancient Pueblo Peoples. St. Remy Press, Montreal and Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1994. ISBN 0-89599-038-5
  • Rohn, Arthur H. and Ferguson, William M, 2006, Puebloan Ruins of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press, Albuqureque NM, ISBN-10 0-82663-39070-0 (pbk. : alk. paper). Pithouse architecture is discussed on pp. 30-33. Animage similar to the above reconstruction appears on p. 32.
1. ^ [1]
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopdia.
pit-house or (dugout) is a dwelling dug into the ground which may also be layered with stone. These structures may be used as places to tell stories, dance, sing, celebrate, and store food.
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Shelter refers to a typically basic structure or building that covers or provides protection, including the following:
Protection from the weather
  • House
  • Mountain shelter or hut
  • Shack

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Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss, and to easily maintain a steady indoor air temperature.
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WAR is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below:
  • War
  • War (band)
  • War (film), a 2007 movie starring Jet Li and Jason Statham
  • Warrenton Railroad (AAR reporting marks WAR)
  • WAR, a Japanese professional wrestling promotion

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Hunting is the practice of pursuing animals for food, recreation, trade or for their products. In modern use, the term refers to regulated and legal hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of animals contrary to law.
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An ambush is a surprise attack from a concealed position on a moving or temporarily halted enemy. An ambush is a long established military tactic in which an ambushing force uses concealment to attack an enemy that passes its position.
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The Loess Plateau (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: 黃土高原; Pinyin: huángtǔ gāoyuán
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cave is a natural underground void large enough for a human to enter. Some people suggest that the term 'cave' should only apply to cavities that have some part which does not receive daylight; however, in popular usage, the term includes smaller spaces like sea caves, rock
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This article is about artificial caves used as dwellings, especially those in north China called yaodongs, as opposed to natural caves.
Yaodong (窰洞
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Motto
Nemo me impune lacessit   (Latin)
"No one provokes me with impunity"
"Cha togar m'fhearg gun dioladh"   
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The Roman Empire is the name given to both the imperial domain developed by the city-state of Rome and also the corresponding phase of that civilization, characterized by an autocratic form of government. This article however is about the latter.
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    Roman Britain refers to those parts of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire between AD 43 and 410. The Romans referred to their province as Britannia.
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    Vulpini

    "Fox" is a general term applied to any one of roughly 27 species of small to medium-sized canids in the tribe vulpini
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    oval or ovoid (from Latin ovum, 'egg') is any curve resembling an egg or an ellipse. Unlike other curves, the term 'oval' is not well-defined and many distinct curves are commonly called ovals.
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    Balanced Rock stands in Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, CO]] A rock is a naturally occurring aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids. The Earth's lithosphere is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
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    WAR is a three-letter abbreviation with multiple meanings, as described below:
    • War
    • War (band)
    • War (film), a 2007 movie starring Jet Li and Jason Statham
    • Warrenton Railroad (AAR reporting marks WAR)
    • WAR, a Japanese professional wrestling promotion

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    Ireland
    Éire
    Airlann
    <nowiki />

    Northwest of continental Europe with Great Britain to the east.

    Geography <nowiki/>
    Location Western Europe <nowiki />
    Archipelago
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    Coober Pedy
    South Australia

    Location of Coober Pedy in South Australia (red)

    Population: 1911

    Location: 846 km from Adelaide

    Federal Division: Grey


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    South Australia

    Flag Coat of Arms
    Slogan or Nickname: Festival State

    Other Australian states and territories
    Capital Adelaide
    Government Constitutional monarchy
    Governor Kevin Scarce
    Premier Mike Rann (ALP)
    Federal representation
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    Outback refers to remote and arid areas of Australia, although the term colloquially can refer to any lands outside of the main urban areas. The term "outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas deemed "the bush".
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    Underground living refers simply to living below the ground's surface, whether in naturally occurring caves or in built structures.

    Besides its obvious novelty, underground living offers additional benefits when compared to living in traditional buildings, such as a nearly
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    American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major war between the United States (the "Union") and eleven Southern slave states which declared that they had a right to secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis.
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    The Homestead Act was a United States Federal law that gave freehold title to 160 acres (one quarter section or about 65 hectares) of undeveloped land in the American West.
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    Great Plains are the broad expanse of prairie and steppe which lie east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming, and
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    worldwide view.


    A log cabin is a small house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house; they were built both in rural areas and in cities in timber-rich regions, around the world, but particularly in the northern hemisphere.
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    Sod is turf and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots, or a piece of this material. Sod is grown on sod or turf farms. Most sod is grown locally to avoid long transport and drying out of the product.
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    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3). Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or flint, as well as varying amounts of clay, silt and sand as disseminations, nodules, or layers
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    A burdei is a type of dugout-style shelter, somewhat between a sod house and log cabin. This style is native to the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe but closely resembles similar buildings from elesewhere such as a French-Canadian caveux.
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