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Later day Iroquois longhouse housing several hundred people
Interior of a longhouse with Chief Powhatan (detail of John Smith map, 1612)

Longhouses were built by native peoples in various parts of North America, sometimes reaching over 100 m (330 ft) but generally around 5 to 7  m (16 to 23 ft) wide. The construction method was also different: the dominant theory is that walls were made of sharpened and fire-hardened poles (up to 1,000 saplings for a 50 m (160 ft) house) driven into the ground and had a roof of leaves and grass. Strips of bark were then woven horizontally through the lines of poles to form more or less weatherproof walls with doors usually in one end of the house, although doors also were built into sides of especially long longhouses. They were long and had fireplaces that kept them warm.

Contents

Iroquois and other East Coast longhouses

The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee or People of the Longhouses) who lived in New York and Ontario built and lived in longhouses. Longer than they were wide, these longhouses had openings at both ends that served as doors and were covered with animal skins during the winter to keep out the cold. On average a typical longhouse was about 80 by 18 by 18 ft (24 by 5.5 by 5.5 m) and was meant to house up to twenty or more families. Poles were set in the ground and supported by horizontal poles along the walls. The roof is made by bending a series of poles, resulting in an arc-shaped roof. The frame is covered by bark,and twigs that is sewn in place and layered as shingles, and reinforced by light poles.

Missionaries who visited these longhouses often wrote about how dark the interior of the dwelling was.

At the outer regions of the woodland housing locality were inviolable protective palisades that stood 14 to 16 ft (4.3 to 4.9 m) high safeguarding the housing region from foreign nations and wild animals.

Ventilation openings, later singly dubbed as a smoke hole, were positioned at intervals possibly totalling five to six along the roofing of the long house.

Tribes or ethnic groups in the northeast of North America, south and east of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that had traditions of building longhouses are, among others, the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) including the Five Nations Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. Also the Wyandot and Erie. Another large group that built longhouses, among others, were the Lenni Lenape, living from the lower Hudson River, along the Delaware River and on both sides of the Delaware Bay, and the Pamunkey of the maybe-related Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia.

Northwest Coast longhouse

[[Image:Moa-4.jpg|thumb|A longhouse at the Museum of Anthropology at the Univacific coast, these long house are built with logs or split-log frame and covered with split log planks, and sometimes an additional bark cover. In an Iroquois longhouse there may have been 20 or more families which were all related through the mothers' side, along with the other relatives. Cedar is the preferred resource. The length of these long houses is usually 60–100 ft (18–30 m).[citation needed] The wealthy built extraordinarily large longhouses. The Suquamish Old Man House at what became the Port Madison Indian Reservation was 500×40–60 ft (150×12–18 m), c. 1850.[1][2]

Usually there is one doorway that faces the shore. Each long house contains a number of booths along both sides of the central hallway, separated by wooden containers (akin to modern drawers). Each booth also has its own individual fire. Usually an extended family occupied one long house, and cooperated in obtaining food, building canoes, and other daily tasks. The roof is a slanted shed roof and pitched to various degrees depending upon the rainfall.[citation needed] The gambrel roof was unique to Puget Sound Coast Salish.[1] front is often very elaborately decorated with an integrated mural of numerous drawings of faces and heraldic crest icons of raven, bear, whale, etc. A totem pole is often accompanied with a long house, though the style varies greatly, and sometimes is even used as part of the entrance way. Long houses had enough room to fit up to 50 people.[citation needed]

Tribes or ethnic groups along the North American Pacific coast with some sort of longhouse building traditions are among others Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Makah, Clatsop, Coast Salish and Multnomah (tribe).

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Excavations at Ozette

From beneath mud flows, archaeologists have recovered timbers and planks, and with them has come a unique chance to see household arrangements from the distant past. In the part of one house, where a woodworker lived, tools were found and also tools in all stages of manufacture, there were even wood chips. Where a whaler lived, there lay harpoons and also a wall screen carved with a whale. Benches and looms were inlaid with shell and there were other indications of wealth.

A single house had five separate living areas centered around cooking hearths, each still safeguarding evidence of what its occupants did. More bows and arrows were found at one living area than any of the others, an indication that hunters lived there. Another had more fishing gear than other subsistence equipment, and at another, more harpoon equipment. Some had everyday work gear and very few elaborately ornamented things. The whaler's corner was just the opposite. [[File:Dorset stone long house 02.JPG|thumb|A Dorset or Paleo-Eskimo long house at Cambridge Bay, Nunavut]] The houses were built so that planks on the walls and roofs could be taken off and used at other places as people moved seasonally. Paired uprights supported rafters, which, in turn, held roof planks that overlapped like tiles. Wall planks were lashed between sets of poles. The position of these poles depended on the lengths of the boards they held, and they were evidently set and reset through the years the houses were occupied. Walls met at the corners by simply butting together. They stayed structurally independent, allowing for easy dismantling. There were no windows. Light and ventilation came by shifting the position of roof planks, which were simply weighted with rocks, not fastened in position.

Benches raised above the floor on stakes provided the main furniture of the houses. They were set near the walls. Cuts and puncture marks indicated they served as work platforms; mats rolled out onto them tie with elders' memories of such benches used as beds.

Storage concentrated behind the benches, along the walls and in corners between benches. These locations within the houses have yielded the most artifacts. The rafters must have also provided storage, but the mudflow carried away this part of the houses.

Bibliography

  • Suttles, Wayne P.; Lane, Barbara (1990-08-20). "South Coast Salish". in Sturtevant, William C.. Handbook of North American Indians. 7. Northwest coast. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. pp. 491. ISBN 0-16-020390-2 (v. 7). 

Further reading

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Suttle & Lane (1990), p. 491
  2. ^ Old Man House is occasionally found (incorrectly or from Chinook Jargon) as Ole Man House or Oleman House.

External links

  • Anash Interactive - An online destination where users create comics, write stories, watch webisodes, download podcasts, play games, read stories and comics by other members, and find out about the Tlingit people of Canada.

(detail of John Smith map, 1612)]]

Longhouses were built by native peoples in various parts of North America, sometimes reaching over 100 m (330 ft) but generally around 5 to 7 m (16 to 23 ft) wide. The dominant theory is that walls were made of sharpened and fire-hardened poles (up to 1,000 saplings for a 50 m (160 ft) house) driven into the ground and the roof consisted of leaves and grass. Strips of bark were then woven horizontally through the lines of poles to form more or less weatherproof walls, with doors usually in one end of the house, although doors also were built into sides of especially long longhouses. Longhouses featured fireplaces that kept them warm.

Contents

Iroquois and other East Coast longhouses

The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee or People of the Longhouses) who lived in New York and Ontario built and lived in longhouses. Longer than they were wide, these longhouses had openings at both ends that served as doors and were covered with animal skins during the winter to keep out the cold. On average a typical longhouse was about 80 by 18 by 18 ft (24 by 5.5 by 5.5 m) and was meant to house up to twenty or more families, most of which were typically matrilinearly related. Poles were set in the ground and braced by horizontal poles along the walls. The roof is made by bending a series of poles, resulting in an arc-shaped roof. The frame is covered by bark that is sewn in place and layered as shingles, and reinforced by light poles.

Missionaries who visited these longhouses often wrote about how dark the interior of the dwelling was.

At the outer regions of the woodland housing locality were inviolable protective palisades that stood 14 to 16 ft (4.3 to 4.9 m) high safeguarding the housing region from foreign nations and wild animals.

Ventilation openings, later singly dubbed as a smoke hole, were positioned at intervals possibly totalling five to six along the roofing of the long house.

Tribes or ethnic groups in the northeast of North America, south and east of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie that had traditions of building longhouses are, among others, the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) including the Five Nations Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk. Also the Wyandot and Erie. Another large group that built longhouses, among others, were the Lenni Lenape, living from the lower Hudson River, along the Delaware River and on both sides of the Delaware Bay, and the Pamunkey of the maybe-related Powhatan Confederacy in Virginia.

Northwest Coast longhouse

at the University of British Columbia]]

These long houses are built with logs or split-log frame and covered with split log planks, and sometimes an additional bark cover. Cedar is the preferred resource. The length of these long houses is usually Template:Convert/–.[citation needed] The wealthy built extraordinarily large longhouses. The Suquamish Old Man House at what became the Port Madison Indian Reservation was 500×40–60 ft (150×12–18 m), c. 1850.[1][2]

Usually there is one doorway that faces the shore. Each long house contains a number of booths along both sides of the central hallway, separated by wooden containers (akin to modern drawers). Each booth also has its own individual fire. Usually an extended family occupied one long house, and cooperated in obtaining food, building canoes, and other daily tasks. The roof is a slanted shed roof and pitched to various degrees depending upon the rainfall.[citation needed] The gambrel roof was unique to Puget Sound Coast Salish.[1] The front is often very elaborately decorated with an integrated mural of numerous drawings of faces and heraldic crest icons of raven, bear, whale, etc. A totem pole is often accompanied with a long house, though the style varies greatly, and sometimes is even used as part of the entrance way. Long houses had enough room to fit up to 50 people.[citation needed]

Tribes or ethnic groups along the North American Pacific coast with some sort of longhouse building traditions are among others Haida, Tsimshian, Tlingit, Makah, Clatsop, Coast Salish and Multnomah (tribe).

Excavations at Ozette

From beneath mud flows, archaeologists have recovered timbers and planks, and with them has come a unique chance to see household arrangements from the distant past. In the part of one house, where a woodworker lived, tools were found and also tools in all stages of manufacture, there were even wood chips. Where a whaler lived, there lay harpoons and also a wall screen carved with a whale. Benches and looms were inlaid with shell and there were other indications of wealth.

A single house had five separate living areas centered around cooking hearths, each still safeguarding evidence of what its occupants did. More bows and arrows were found at one living area than any of the others, an indication that hunters lived there. Another had more fishing gear than other subsistence equipment, and at another, more harpoon equipment. Some had everyday work gear and very few elaborately ornamented things. The whaler's corner was just the opposite.

The houses were built so that planks on the walls and roofs could be taken off and used at other places as people moved seasonally. Paired uprights supported rafters, which, in turn, held roof planks that overlapped like tiles. Wall planks were lashed between sets of poles. The position of these poles depended on the lengths of the boards they held, and they were evidently set and reset through the years the houses were occupied. Walls met at the corners by simply butting together. They stayed structurally independent, allowing for easy dismantling. There were no windows. Light and ventilation came by shifting the position of roof planks, which were simply weighted with rocks, not fastened in position.

Benches raised above the floor on stakes provided the main furniture of the houses. They were set near the walls. Cuts and puncture marks indicated they served as work platforms; mats rolled out onto them tie with elders' memories of such benches used as beds.

Storage concentrated behind the benches, along the walls and in corners between benches. These locations within the houses have yielded the most artifacts. The rafters must have also provided storage, but the mudflow carried away this part of the houses.

Bibliography

  • Suttles, Wayne P.; Lane, Barbara (1990-08-20). "South Coast Salish". In Sturtevant, William C.. Handbook of North American Indians. 7. Northwest coast. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. pp. 491. ISBN 0-16-020390-2 (v. 7). 

Further reading

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Suttle & Lane (1990), p. 491
  2. ^ Old Man House is occasionally found (incorrectly or from Chinook Jargon) as Ole Man House or Oleman House.

External links

  • Anash Interactive - An online destination where users create comics, write stories, watch webisodes, download podcasts, play games, read stories and comics by other members, and find out about the Tlingit people of Canada.

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