Stilt House
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Stilt House
City of Yawnghwe in the Inle Lake, Myanmar.

Stilt houses are houses raised on piles over the surface of the soil or a body of water. Stilt houses are built primarily as a protection against flooding;[1] they also keep out vermin.[2] The shady space under the house can be used for work or storage.[3]


Reconstruction of Bronze Age German stilt houses on Lake Constance, Pfahlbaumuseum Unteruhldingen, Germany.
Lacustrine Village found in Lake Zurich, Switzerland

In the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, stilt-house settlements were common in the Alpine and Pianura Padana (Terramare) regions.[4] Remains have been found at the Ljubljana Marshes in Slovenia and at the Mondsee and Attersee lakes in Upper Austria, for example. Early archaeologists like Ferdinand Keller thought they formed artificial islands, much like the Irish and Scottish Crannogs, but today it is clear that the majority of settlements were located on the shores of lakes and were only inundated later on.[5] Reconstructed stilt houses are shown in open-air museums in Unteruhldingen and Zürich (Pfahlbauland). In June 2011, the prehistoric pile dwellings in six Alpine states were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A single Scandinavian pile dwelling, the Alvastra stilt houses, has been excavated in Sweden.[]Herodotus has described in his Histories the dwellings of the "lake-dwellers" in Paeonia and how those were constructed.[6]


Houses where permafrost is present, in the Arctic, are built on stilts to keep permafrost under them from melting. Permafrost can be up to 70% water. While frozen, it provides a stable foundation. However, if heat radiating from the bottom of a home melts the permafrost, the home goes out of level and starts sinking into the ground. Other means of keeping the permafrost from melting are available, but raising the home off the ground on stilts is one of the most effective ways.

Southern hemisphere

Palafitos in Castro, Chiloé Archipelago, Chile

According to archeological evidence, stilt-house settlements were an architectural norm in the Caroline Islands and Micronesia, and these are still present in Oceania today.[7] Today, stilt houses are also still common in parts of the Mosquito Coast in northeastern Nicaragua, northern Brazil, South East Asia, Papua New Guinea, and West Africa.[8] Stilted granaries are also a common feature in West Africa, e.g., in the Malinke language regions of Mali and Guinea.

Western hemisphere

Many of the buildings in Halibut Cove, Alaska, are stilt houses.
Summer family dwellings of the natives of the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) called Itelmens or Kamchadals. Their winter dwellings were earth-sheltered and communal.

In the Alps, similar buildings, known as raccards, are still in use as granaries. In England, granaries are placed on staddle stones, similar to stilts, to prevent mice and rats getting to the grain. Stilt houses are also common in the western hemisphere, and are an example of multiple discovery. They were built by Amerindians in pre-Columbian times. Palafitos are especially widespread along the banks of the tropical river valleys of South America, notably the Amazon and Orinoco river systems. Stilt houses were such a prevalent feature along the shores of Lake Maracaibo that Amerigo Vespucci was inspired to name the region "Venezuela" (little Venice). As the costs of hurricane damage increase, more and more houses along the Gulf Coast are being built as or converted to stilt houses.[9]


Stilt houses as water villas are common in the Maldives.



See also


  1. ^ Bush, David M. (June 2004). Living with Florida's Atlantic beaches: Coastal hazards from Amelia Island to Key West. Duke University Press. pp. 263-264. ISBN 978-0-8223-3289-3. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ Our Experts. Our Living World 5. Ratna Sagar. p. 63. ISBN 978-81-8332-295-9. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ Cambodian Heritage Camp yearbook.
  4. ^ Alan W. Ertl (15 August 2008). Toward an Understanding of Europe: A Political Economic Précis of Continental Integration. Universal-Publishers. p. 308. ISBN 978-1-59942-983-0. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ Francesco Menotti (2004). Living on the lake in prehistoric Europe: 150 years of lake-dwelling research. Psychology Press. pp. 22-25. ISBN 978-0-415-31720-7. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 5.16
  7. ^ Paul Rainbird (14 June 2004). The archaeology of Micronesia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 92-98. ISBN 978-0-521-65630-6. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ Dindy Robinson (15 August 1996). World cultures through art activities. Libraries Unlimited. pp. 64-65. ISBN 978-1-56308-271-9. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ "Fortified Home Design Pioneered on the Texas Gulf Coast". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Sejarah Industri Rumah Kayu Woloan | Tumou Pratama". Rumah Kayu (in Indonesian). Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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