Neolithic architecture


Neolithic architecture
Excavated dwellings at Skara Brae

Neolithic architecture is the architecture of the Neolithic period. In Southwest Asia, Neolithic cultures appear soon after 10000 BC, initially in the Levant (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B) and from there spread eastwards and westwards. There are early Neolithic cultures in Southeast Anatolia, Syria and Iraq by 8000 BC, and food-producing societies first appear in southeast Europe by 7000 BC, and Central Europe by c. 5500 BC (of which the earliest cultural complexes include the Starčevo-Koros (Cris), Linearbandkeramic, and Vinča). With very small exceptions (a few copper hatchets and spear heads in the Great Lakes region), the people of the Americas and the Pacific remained at the Neolithic level of technology up until the time of European contact.

A dolmen at Couto Esteves, Portugal.

The Neolithic peoples in the Levant, Anatolia, Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Central Asia were great builders, utilising mud-brick to construct houses and villages. At Çatalhöyük, houses were plastered and painted with elaborate scenes of humans and animals. In Europe, long houses built from wattle and daub were constructed. Elaborate tombs for the dead were also built. These tombs are particularly numerous in Ireland, where there are many thousand still in existence. Neolithic people in the British Isles built long barrows and chamber tombs for their dead and causewayed camps, henges flint mines and cursus monuments.

Megalithic tomb, Mane Braz, Brittany

Most of the megaliths found in Western Europe and the Mediterranean were also erected in the Neolithic period. Perhaps the most famous megalithic structure is Stonehenge in England, although many others are known throughout the world. These monuments include both megalithic tombs, temples and structures of unknown (possibly religious or astronomical) purpose. The oldest known megalithic temple is Ggantija on Gozo Island.

Neolithic pile dwellings have been excavated in Sweden (Alvastra pile dwelling) and in the circum-Alpine area, with remains being found at the Mondsee and Attersee lakes in Upper Austria. Early archaeologists like Ferdinand Keller thought they formed artificial islands, much like the Scottish Crannogs, but today it is clear that the majority of settlements was located on the shores of lakes and were only inundated later on. Reconstructed pile dwellings are shown in open air museums in Unteruhldingen and Zurich (Pfahlbauland).

In Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, Neolithic settlements included wattle-and-daub structures with thatched roofs and floors made of logs covered in clay. This is also when the burdei (below-ground) style of house construction was developed, which was still used by Romanians and Ukrainians up until the 20th Century.

Neolithic settlements include:

The world's oldest known engineered roadway, the Sweet Track in England, also dates from this time.

See also

  • Ancient Pueblo People
  • Architectural history
  • Mehrgarh

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • NEOLITHIC ARCHITECTURE —    See PREHISTORIC ARCHITECTURE …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Architecture of Portugal — refers to the architecture practised in the territory of present day Portugal since before the foundation of the country, in the 12th century. The term may also refer to buildings created under Portuguese influence or by Portuguese architects… …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic British Isles — The Neolithic site of Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, southern England, is one example of the large ceremonial monuments constructed across the British Isles in this period. The Neolithic British Isles refers to the period of British, Irish and Manx… …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic long house — The Neolithic long house was a long, narrow timber dwelling built by the first farmers in Europe beginning at least as early as the period 5000 to 6000 BC.[1] This type of architecture represents the largest free standing structure in the world… …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic — An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Neolithic stone implements are by definition polished and except for specialty items not chipped. The Neolithic …   Wikipedia

  • Neolithic Revolution — The Neolithic This box: view · talk · edit ↑ Mesolithic …   Wikipedia

  • ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTS — Archaeology has provided information about Israelite architectural practices from the 10th to 6th centuries B.C.E., and to Jewish styles of building and decoration from the late Hellenistic period (1st century B.C.E.) and later. In Antiquity The… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Architecture of Ireland — The architecture of Ireland is one of the most visible features in the Irish countryside with remains from all eras since the stone age abounding. Ireland is famous for its ruined and intact Norman and Anglo Irish castles, small whitewashed… …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture of Denmark — Renaissance styled Frederiksborg Palace completed by Hans van Steenwinckel the Younger in 1620 …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture of the United Kingdom — The architecture of the United Kingdom has a long and diverse history from beyond Stonehenge to the designs of Norman Foster and the present day. Below are listed some architects and examples of their work typical of the era in which they were… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.