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Pathways of Ancient Folk Settlements and Human Ecosystems

Clickable terms are red on the yellow background




Map 1. Wordwide types of climatic zones

Map 2. Old World ecosystems





        Evolution of human dwellings

        Types of huts and dwellings

        Architectural Taxonomy

        Lakeside Stilt-Dwelling with Crossed Poles









        Cliff-Dwellings and Burial Rock-Cut Caves

        Rectangular Longhouses Out of Straw and Mud

       Earth lodges and Subterranean Sancturaries

        Semidugout Zemlyankas of Lapponoid Cremators









        Tungusoids pile-huts, stilt-houses and lake-dwellings

       Pelasgoids conical rondavel roundhouses

        Megara, palatial temples and columnal palaces

        Flat-roofed labyrinth architecture of Oriental farmers

        Rectangular wicker longhouses with thatched roofs

        Gotho-Frisian wurts, terps and half-timber longhouses

        Dome-shaped beehive huts


       Bascoid Cyclopean megalithic architecture

       Megalithic tombstones and tholoi graves

        Lapponoids lean-to and semidugout pit-house

        Turcoids dwellings and burials in rockcut caves



        Multicellular Labyrinths in Lowland Valley Villages


        Oppidans: Hillforts Towering on High Rock Promontories


        Palatial Poleis and Cultic Spas in Seaside Harbours

        Straight Streets and Alleys of Lake-Dwellings


The Architecture of Traditional Indigenous Houses

Man protects himself from adversities of the weather and climate in different geographic zones by dwellings. If ABO groups represent a trans-species phenomenon uniting humans with primates, dwellings, surprisingly, provide a trans-continental criterion of comparison. Their patterns seem to be trans-chronical because architectural archetypes seem to have persisted since Palaeolithic times up to now and modern indigenes. For instance, dome-shaped beehive dwellings unite Swazi people, Khoids, Maasai tribes, Berber and Basque funeral architecture, Irish or Scottish megalith-builders, Algonquian wigwams and Peruvian Quechua habitations. Their origin from Mousterians is demonstrated by Molodovo mammoth-bone huts and Eskimo whale-bone huts in Greenland. Mutual differences were removed by cave dwellings occupied by boreal hunters in wintertime. The following ordered chains do not sketch direct transitions but suggest stages that apply also to parallelisms in premortal and postmortal abodes:

straw beehive hut > stone clochn and cairn > cupolar mosque dome > citadel;

Khoisan heap-stone tomb > Berber tumulus > Mycenaean tholos > pyramid;

post-dwelling > rondavel roundhouse > conical tepee > columnal palace;

collective oblong longhouse > Amazonian maloca > Gothic half-timber wurt.

They demonstrate that evolution does not switch from one typological archetype to another but observes laws of inheritance that preserve genetic continuity pursuing one characteristic tradition. Such continuity links prehistoric tents with medieval folk huts and royal residences of monumental architecture. This means that cultural development proceeds forth in several independent lineages along different paths. Table 1 employs square brackets for tribal groups so as to indicate ethnic appurtenance.


Longhouse [dolichocephalous axe-tool people]: large oblong collective houses for great families; they are inhabited by Zweiklassengesellschaft two-moiety communities; their wooden framework is filled with straw; Haida-Tlingit shellfish eaters with middens; Tup-Guaran oblong long house maloca.

Wurt, terp [Nordids]: Gotho-Frisian half-timber house with walls filled

with straw and cow dung; its peripheral three aisles are used as cowsheds.

Wagon longhouses: Iroquois Northeastern Woodland longhouses of semi-cylindrical shape that are very similar to Viking huts in Island and Scandinavia. 


Tell-sites, tepe-sites [Elamitoids]: flat-roofed labyrinths with subterranean sanctuaries for rites bring offering of bull deities.

Pueblos [Anasazi basket-makers, Elamitoids, Caucasoids]: multi-storied adobe houses out of sunburnt bricks that surround an open central plaza; it is accessed only through ladders lowered and removed by kinsmen so as to fend off unwanted guests; they were built by Hopi-Zuni tribes in the Southwest.


Rondavel [Kafirs and Pelasgoids]: conical roundhouse built by Pelasgoid lakeside fishermen (Zulu rondavel, Apulian casedda and trullo, Spanish palloza, Scottish crannog).

Tepee [American and Far East Tungids]: conical dwelling with crossed poles common among the Tungids and Uto-Aztecan tribes in the Plains, residually preserved in the gables of lavvu log-cabins among Karelians, Curones, Ladogans and Saamic tribes. 

Stilt-dwellings [Aurignacians, Pontids]: seaside and riverside pole-dwellings and post-huts, abodes of Aurignacian Tungids preserved in the Polada and Lagozza cultures; seaside stilt-dwellings are peculiar to Oceanic and Polynesian sailors with Y-hg C; the Creek chickee is a stilt-dwelling derived from the tepee.

Alleys [western lake-dwellers]: straight parallel rows of standing stones (menhirs) and streets of semidetached houses facing the waterside shore and adding parallel rows in offshore direction.

Columnal palace [Greece, Cretans, Latini]: Cretan columnal palatial architecture is a derivation of Neolithic post-dwellings and Tungusoid tepees.


Tree-dwelling [ancient Proto-Turanids]: Cimbroid summertime abodes in bogs and marshlands.

Rock-cut cave [Hebroid, Iberoid and Dravidian Turanids]: Hebroid artificial cave hewn by antler pics; wintertime habitation under rock overhang shelters.


Beehive [Abasgoids]: cupola-shaped hut with a low entrance (Irish clochn, Scottish cairn, Moesian gromila, Mycenaean tholos, Mongolian chum, Eskimo igloo, Algonquian wigwam, Apache wickiup, Wampanoag wetu); it is made of straw mixed with cow dung but later developed into dome-shaped stone house with corbelled roof; its design is peculiar to all Abasgoid megalith-builders.

Citadel [megalith-builders]: circular bastioned settlement with a central cupola-shaped castle with a leonine or feline sphinx at the gateway and circular enclosures (kraals) for domestic cattle; it is a derivation of a megalithic stone circle (cromlech).


Marquee [Uralids, Sarmatoids]: four-pitch roof tent common to Tibetans, Arabs and Bedouins, Sarmatian shater; Patagonian Tehuelche lama-breeders have similar toldo tents.

Atrium house [Marsi, Volsci]: Roman houses with a central open atrium and impluvium for collecting raining water in a subfloor cistern.

Courtyard grange: quadrangular courtyard grange with stalls for horses.

Oppidum [Sarmatoid Celts]: hillforts and citadels on high rocky promontories over rivers.

Crenelled tower: castle hillfort with castellated walls and crenelled bastions.


Lean-to [Lapponoids, Pygmies, Negritos]: nomadic A-shaped two-sloped shelter in rainforest thickets.

Burdei [Athapascans]: sedentary A-shaped semi-subterranean semi-dugout with two-slope roof, zemlyankas and earth lodges with saunas and sweathouses; Athapascan pit-house qargi called also quiggly hole.

Table 1. Types of huts and dwellings


Architectural Taxonomy


An alternative model of architectonic classification may be submitted to consideration in Table 2. Its disadvantage is seen in too many neologisms, great complexity and divergence from standard conventions. Its specific trait consists in applying local terms as archetypes for entire classes of similar buildings. If it displays a positive feature worth pursuing, it is a series of compound words ending in -tectonic. It indicates that the actual reference cocerns the systematic typology of constructions in popular huts and folk architecture. They show that folk architecture builds a bridge over the wide abyss between Palaeolithic and Eneolithic morphology and disclose their structural continuity from times immemorial.











































Auxiliary Criteria of Architectural and Ceramic Ethnology


The racial and ethnic identification cannot be guided only by the present-day phenotype appearance, its analysis has to trace back archaeological roots, explore geographical distribution and compare also typological chains in several prehistoric disciplines. Map 4 demonstrates that Africa is occupied by at least three related dolichocephalous racial stocks with similar osteology, craniology and housing: autochthonous African Negrids, Caucasoid Ethiopids and Nordic Littorids. Their skeletons show tall stature, platycnemia betraying terrestial open-air ecotype and upright gait but share similar traits also in collective life-style, clothing, architecture and housing. Moreover, they seem to be correlated also by analogous inclinations to axe-tool making industry, vegetal and plant-gathering subsistence, rectangular longhouses, matrilocal endogamous marriage, dowry and theocracy.

Map 4 shows three principal streams of axe-tool makers, who descended from the African continent but later returned back to its heart. All factions of Negrids originally cohabited in large matrilinear families and built quadrangular timber huts filled by clay. Their shape was roughly similar to large longhouses inhabited by the Danubian peasants of the Neolithic Linear Culture or collective house maloca of the Tup-Guaran tribes in Amazonia. The common denominator of all Negrids consisted in wearing fringed grass aprons and the custom of grown-up women to go out bare-breasted in a topless dress. Fringed grass aprons form an indispensable accessory of clothing in Melanesia, Polynesia and Amazonia. Their design was clearly discernible also in paintings of ancient Mesopotamian Gutii, Ubaidan peasants and Cretan goddesses. The chief duty of their females was to bring water in gouged wooden vessels on their head. Another typical utensil was a head-bench for resting and sleeping.

External influences from Eurasia were visible in Caucasoid Etiopids and Atlantic Littorids. The Acheulean Ethiopids accomplished an architectural revolution by replacing wooden logs by clay and rammed pis on account of lack wood in arid desert regions. They began to build multi-cellular many-roomed houses out of sun-dried bricks. They had flat roofs, firm external walls and few outer windows. In fear of alien intruders, they were usually accessed on removable ladders from above. Their architectonic style was favoured by farmers and townsfolk in Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya and Algeria. The hybrid composition of African Nordids and Caucasoids out of heterogeneous layers should not make us blind to their specific new peculiarities. Their ethnic heritage shone through especially in the rites of bull cults and bull fighting. They settled down in fertile areas along the reaches of water streams but they did not despise colonising arid areas of oases in deserts, either.

The last but not the least of African races comes the ethnic group of white-skinned Littoralids pursuing the western coast of Africa as beachcombers as far as the South African Cap of Good Hope. The European Bell-Beaker Folk and African Littoralids manufactured campaniform pottery with corded patterns and lived in huts that were reminiscent of the Frisian three-aisled wurt. Their two-pitched roofs were sloping down to the earth. The mysterious group of Atlantic Littoralids with shell midden evolved from the Mesolithic Campignian culture (10,000 BC). They were of Indo-European origin but differed from the Danubian Europids with clear agricultural dispositions by living as shellfish eaters relishing on molluscs, snails and frogs. These northern invaders were probably responsible for the import of the West African sacred double-bitted axe. The ancient Romans knew it as bipennis, the Greek Minoans called it labrys and Lydians mentioned it as πελεκυς, pelekus.1 Its true copy was celebrated in the mythology of African Yoruba people, who worshipped it as a symbol of the god Sango or Xango.

The early invasion of white-skinned Nordids into the African continent can be documented also by archaeological finds. Their hosts sailed along the western coasts of Portugal, Mauretania, Guinea and Angola as far as South Africa. They belonged to beachcombers classified as Littoralids, built their shelters on elevated sand-dunes and left behind characteristic heaps of shell midden (kjkkenmddinger). Their roaming hordes may be denoted as Campignians affiliated to Frisians and the Mugem culture in Portugal. The southwest regions of Europe became their secondary homeland and served as the birthplace of Franco-Swabian tribes. In the Neolithic they developed a special cultivar of the Beaker-Folk culture with its typical bell-shaped pottery. It was probably the Portuguese Mugem shell-midden culture that ensured Frenchmen and Franco-Swabians the ill repute of frog-eaters. The ceramic morphology of the Spanish Bell-Beaker Folk retained its patterns also on African travels. It breathed life into the Campagniforme culture swaying in Guinea and Angola in the Neolithic period. Its spread may be responsible for a great number of Europoid toponyms and ethnonyms such as Cotonou, Ketou, Brass and Sasso in the Gulf of Guinea. The residual vestiges of the Bell-Beaker Folk Littoralids colonies can be recognised also in recent ethnic tribes. Bernartziks ethnographical survey mentioned them as hosts of conspicuously white-skinned indigenous tribes on the coasts of Angola.2





Such intercontinental similarities witness that consanguine populations maintain genetic inheritance, cultural endurance and long-range typological stability. Their inner affinity is based on the common genetic outfit passed as a relay over hundred thousand years. After Negrids pursued the fates of archaic Oldowan ancestrors they enriched their cultural endowment by adding Sangoan and Lupembian innovations. On the Arabian Peninsula they infiltrated into the northern boreal Asiatic races and their mutual contacts gave rise to the mixed hybrid race of Acheulean Caucasoids. Caucasoids flooded the Near East, Anatolia and South Asia and took part in reforms of Neolithic agriculture. Their kinsfolk expanded also backwards in the native African continent and created a new racial variety of Ethiopids. Their northern mutations included European Neolithic farmers and Campignian Littoralids, who combed the beaches of Atlantic seacoasts as far as the Gulf of Guinea.

Map 5 adds comparison between rectangular housing types common to axe-tool cultures of African origin and tent constructions characteristic of Afro-Asiatic tribes descending from the Near East. The raids of Afro-Asiatic invaders are assumed to have created the language families of Semitic, Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Egyptian and Omotic peoples. The Arabic and Bedouin nomadic camel-breeders lived in irregular marquee tents with several pitches supported by poles. Bedouins called them beit al-shar, its Mauritanian form was denoted as tekna and Tibetan herders knew it as ndrogba. The Berber Imazhigen originally built huts and burials mounds resembling cupolar or half-barrel shaped beehive constructions common among the Maasai and the Khoisan Khoikhoi. But they looked like stonemade dome-shaped vaulted cairns, whereas the cattle-breeding herders in the southern regions of Africa made them out of boughs and straw. Cushitic settlers took over the architectonic style of East African rondavels, i.e. the Pedi-Thongan roundhouses with pointed conical roofs and cylindrical basement. Modern Herero and Damara tribes live in conical huts with cylindrical understructure but their Mesolithic progenitors preferred to dwell in rock shelters and articifical rock-hewn-caves. They arrived to South Africa with the plantations of Wilton culture colonists (5000 BC) and sketched petroglyphs and rock-paintings that are erroneously attributed to Bushmen.


From Pavel Blek: The Differential Analysis of the Wordwide Human Varieties . Prague 2019. pp. 14-17










































2 H. A. Bernartzik: Die neue grosse Vlkerkunde. Wien Prag 1962. **********************

1  Plutarch, Quaestiones Graecae 2.302a.