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contents : Early Medieval : Shelter & Housing

Summary: Layout of Early Medieval Houses

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Sometimes these early medieval houses were shaped like a figure of eight, with a smaller room, known as a cuile, used as a backhouse or kitchen. This could only be entered from the main room. There is no evidence of these houses being further subdivided into other rooms. Bedding areas were usually against the walls of the larger structure and these would have been filled with straw. These beds were raised about 30 cms above the ground. The doors of these houses were wattle on a timber frame. They nearly always faced south or east to provide maximum shelter. Drainage gullies were arranged so that there was little or no seepage into the house. Drystone circular houses were more common in the south west of Ireland. In many areas they were preceded by the wicker framed houses and it was probably the stormy climate that meant that the more solid structures were required.

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Example layout of an early medieval house

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