Longhouses are enormous constructions made of local materials that may accommodate numerous households (typically connected as an extended family) or a single family with cattle. Large longhouses can be utilized for community meetings or celebrations as well.
There are three main types of longhouses: log, wattle-and-daub, and frame.
The log house is the oldest type of longhouse still in use today. It is built from large trees cut down in the forest and then shaped and smoothed by hand. The logs are then dried in the sun and used as a fuel to heat homes and cook food. Log houses have large fire pits at one end where flames are kept alive by constantly adding more wood until it is time to eat. These houses are very affordable to build and easy to maintain.
The wattle-and-daub house uses sticks instead of logs to make the house frame. After the stick frame is complete, clay is smeared on all the surfaces except the bottom, which is covered in earth. When the clay dries, it becomes like plaster and acts as an insulation layer between the living space and the ground.
The frame house uses metal rods for the frame and glass fibers for the walls. This type of longhouse is popular among modern homeowners who want a sturdy house with a unique look.
Historically, the longhouse was a multi-family dwelling that housed the extended matrilineal family, with a senior lady serving as the clan segment's head. It was a significant edifice both physically and symbolically. Longhouses were only utilized for a decade or two. They were impermanent buildings that were influenced by a variety of causes. The most common reason for their destruction was lack of interest on the part of its occupants.
Longhouses were built in clusters to serve as community centers. There would be a chief's house at one end, with smaller houses extending from it. The women of the household would share chores and responsibilities. Each woman would have her own room with a bed, storage space, and a fire pit in the floor where she could cook food over an open flame. The men would sleep in separate rooms across the room from the women's quarters.
Children played together in front of the house or in other areas of the village set aside for this purpose. When they reached puberty, they moved into a separate section of the longhouse called the brae. Here they would live with their spouses and have children who would do the same. In this way, the house continued to grow with the family.
The longhouse was a convenient structure for consuming large amounts of food without having to eat in your own home. Since everyone ate together, there was no need for formal dining tables. Food was brought in on platters and shared among all those living in the house.
Freebase (0.00/0 votes cast) Please rate this definition: A longhouse, sometimes known as a long house, is a form of long, relatively thin, single-room dwelling constructed by peoples around the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America. Many were constructed of wood and constitute the oldest kind of permanent construction in many civilizations. Others were made of stone or mud brick and some examples exist as late as the 20th century.
Longhouses are usually only habitable inside the summer months when it is warm enough to live without a furnace or air conditioner. During the winter, they must be either open on one side or covered with a roof.
Even though they are called "longhouses", most do not measure longer than 15 feet (4.6 m) nor do they have more than one room. Some have as few as three walls and a floor while others have as many as five or six. The size of a longhouse depends on the needs of its occupants - for example, if there are children living there, something larger that can be divided up into rooms would be required.
Long houses were used by several different cultures across many regions of the world. They are common in parts of Asia where timber is available, such as in Thailand and Indonesia. In Europe, longhouses still exist in areas where logging was important for building materials, such as in Sweden and Finland.