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The Ancient Indigenous Architecture of Steppe Grasslanders

Clickable terms are red on the yellow background




Map 1. Types of human dwellings (after R. Biasutti)





        Evolution of human dwellings

        Types of huts and dwellings

        Architectural taxonomy

       Lakeside stilt-dwelling with crossed poles

        Human settlements and ecosystems









        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

        Irregular multi-peaked marquee nomadic tents

        Epi-Aurignacian tepees and pile-dwellings

       Bascoid Cyclopean megalithic architecture

       Megalithic tombstones and tholoi graves

        Lapponoids lean-to and semidugout pit-house

        Turcoids dwellings and burials in rockcut caves



        Lakeland, marshland, lowland, grassland and desert ecosystems

        Multicellular labyrinths in arid subtropical lowland

        Tell-sites in oases of subtropical shrublands

        Oppidans: hillforts towering on high rock promontories

        Getic boroughs: villages in alluvial lowlands

        Palatial poleis and cultic spas in seaside harbours

        Straight streets and alleys of lake-dwellings











































Irregular Multi-Peaked Nomadic Tents


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.

Arabs. Arabs were settled in the Arabian Peninsula and specialised in breeding camels. The discovery of droving, raising and breeding cattle occurred about 3,000 BC in southern Arabia. At that time people hunted wild one-hump dromedaries grazing in southern Arabia. Another centre of camel-breeding herding was situated in eastern Bactria, which is regarded as a natural home of the wild two-humped Bactrian camel. Its birthplace was in grassland steppes of eastern Iran, Mongolia, China and Tibet. Both subspecies were predestined to provide transport for caravans wandering between oases in a desert. Ancient records mentioned the accomplishment of taming wild Bactrian camels also somewhere east of the Zagros Mountains. As a result there arose two or three independent centres of camel breeding. What united Arabic, Bedouin and Tibetan camel herders as a common feature was their characteristic marquee type of tents. In opposition to the cupola-shaved beehive tent (Mongolic chum) that was peculiar to Ugro-Scythoid tribes, these tribes developed a different variety of nomadic shelters. Their tents were of irregular shape and stood on several protruding pitched poles supporting the leather vault out of hides. Bedouins knew it as buryuut hajar and called it also beit al-shar. Russian nomads in Central Asia named its tent-type shater, pl. shatry. Its style became very common in Tibet and spread also to Mongolia. Its American parallels are found in the southern pampas of Latin America. The local Tehuelche residents called them toldo.




Amharians. About 3000 BC the Mesopotamian hegemony of Urukans was shaken by a strong influx of Sumerians, who used the donkey for carryings burdens but drove herds of bovine cattle for milking and food. After crossing the Arabian Peninsula they began to infiltrate into Egypt via the Sinai and to Ethiopia across the Horn of Africa. Their civilisation flooded the northeast of the African continent as a culture of the Savannah Pastoral Neolithic (3000 to 700 BC), known formerly as Stone Bowl Culture. Most authors agree in identifying their hordes with Cushites, although they must be classified as the Amhara section of the Afro-Asiatic family. They differed from Cushites by orientation to aurochs, cattle, donkeys, burials in stone cairns and ostrich eggs used as grave goods. The latter were a reminder of Uralic and Sarmatic ovotheism concentrated on votive gifts of painted eggs and the crucial role of the World Egg in their mythical theogony. The exchange of labour between herders, warriors and farmers resulted in a chain of Amharian slave-holding regimes that spanned from the Sabaean kingdom (1200 BC, probably identical to the realm of the biblical Queen of Sheba), the Axumite Kingdom of Aksum (100 AD) and the Meroitic kingdom (850 BC). The roots of their ethnonyms were reminiscent of the Uralic and Sarmatic ethnicities beginning with Mar-, Est-/Osset- and Rus-.

Pontok. The beehive houses with their dome constructions, formed by vertical and horizontal laths, were common to the Dinka, Madi, Musangane, Maasai, Musgu, Khoisan and Kafirs (Table 9). The Galla had low domed huts strewn with straw and concentrated in throngs. The Shilluk, Nuer, Lango, Barea, Atvot, Lua, Jikani have similar huts though their beehive morphology is a little bit spoiled by pointed roofs. The round conic shapes (huts called tikul in Ethiopia) betray an older adstratum of Aurignacian fishermens post-dwellings typical of the eastern coasts of Africa. The Nuer villages, separated by twenty-mile rings of pastures, contain from 50 to 400 inhabitants (Evans-Pritchard 1985: 102; Africa 1963, I: 165ff.).


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