During the Neolithic period, Stone Age dwellings were rectangular and made of timber (4000 BC to 2500 BC). These houses are no longer standing, although the foundations may still be seen. Some buildings featured thatched roofs and walls made of wattle (woven wood) and daub (mud and straw). In more recent times, houses have been built using stones as a foundation material. These are known as stonewalls and can be seen in fields all over the world.
The first settlers in Europe arrived around 4400 BC and mostly lived in camps of about 20 people. But by 3500 BC they had started building larger settlements with defined areas for work and play. These early villages often included public buildings such as temples and meeting places. By 2700 BC most communities were self-sufficient with their own food production and probably also had small herds of livestock. People began to trade with each other and travel was also becoming common practice. By 2000 BC many large cities were appearing on the continent. They were mainly inhabited by priests and leaders because they were the only ones who could afford to pay workers enough to build huge cities.
Early homes were usually made out of wood but after 3000 BC builders started using stone instead. These new houses had better insulation values so they could be used during winter months when it was cold outside. By 500 BC some houses had been built with cement and by 250 AD concrete was being used widely in Italy and Germany.
A Neolithic home was rectangular in shape and built from either tree trunks buried vertically into the ground or braided branches coated in mud. A huge beam resting against the roof's ridge supported the gables at either end. The roof was constructed of timber beams and covered with reed thatch. There may have been walls made of stone or clay, but these would not be visible from outside the house.
The people who lived here were called "Neolithic farmers". They came from somewhere else - probably around the Mediterranean - and moved north to live off the land. They used tools like axes, knives, and spears, and they built their houses out of anything they could find - wood if no stones were available - and usually died in them too. But sometimes bodies were found buried with jewelry, weapons, and food that indicates they were killed elsewhere and then brought back here for burial.
These people had no writing, no roads, and no cities. They didn't even have names for themselves or their villages. We know this because all we have left of them are some very large monuments spread across Europe. Some people think these are evidence of religious rites, but there's really only one way to find out!
Looking at these monuments, you can see that they include mounds, barrows, henges, and circles. All of these are examples of earthworks created during the Neolithic period.
Settled farming led to the construction of the first stone homes during the Neolithic era. There is also evidence of massive wood halls from this time period. Although plans were built more inexpensively in the 1930s, a 1936 assessment indicated that nearly half of Scotland's dwellings were still insufficient. The modern-day residence is therefore a product of modern building techniques which have been applied to these traditional materials.
People started building with stones because they are easy to get and relatively easy to use for foundations. A hole is dug for the post of a house then another for the door. On top of that, someone with some skill can build a wall around the site to make an enclosure. This is probably why people used to live in caves instead of houses!
There are several types of buildings constructed with stone including houses, schools, churches, and shops. Houses are usually found near fields or forest where there is good soil for growing crops. They can be one-story structures with an open courtyard or two-stories with separate rooms on each floor. Sometimes houses had only a ground floor or only first floor energy efficiency was not important enough to warrant additional stories.
Most houses built in Scotland before 1800 were made of wood. As land became more valuable and access to timber improved, people started building their own houses. A carpenter would cut and fit wooden panels together to create a room shape. The roof would be made of wood too.
Roundhouses from the Bronze Age were circular constructions with wattle (woven wood) and daub (mud and straw) walls or dry stone walls. Because they were built on wetlands, some residences had to be erected on stilts. Roundhouses often had thatched roofs or were covered with grass that was laid over a wooden beam cone. The floors were usually made of earth or compacted sand. There might be one or two rooms inside the roundhouse, but most had three: an entrance, a middle room with a fire, and an opening in the back for excreta and smoke.
Bronze Age people lived in small communities spread out along rivers, in valleys, or near settlements where they worked as farmers or shepherds. They used tools made of bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) for farming and for making weapons. They also used stones for tools such as grinders (for grinding seeds into food) and knives (for cutting meat and vegetables).
People of this era went to great lengths to prepare their food before eating it. For example, they soaked wheat in water to make it more digestible. They also dried fruit such as apples and pears after removing the skin and seed. This preserved the fruit and made it easier to transport long distances between settlements.
Metal cooking pots were used instead of earthenware ones because metal is heat-resistant. Also, when burned, metal gives off fewer toxic gases than pottery.
Bronze Age buildings were composed of wood, stone filled with wattle, braided wood, and daub, a mud and straw combination. The walls would be painted with a lime based paint to give them a white color.
The Bronze Age came about 3100 BC and lasted until 1600 BC. It is known as the Bronze Age because most cultures that existed at that time used copper instead of iron for their tools and weapons. Although bronze is harder than iron, it can become brittle when exposed to heat or cold. So instead of one solid piece of metal, bronze is made up of many layers of sheet metal held together by bronze nails or screws.
People during this era lived in small communities called villages. These villages usually consisted of around 50 homes that were mostly self-sufficient. They would provide for their own food needs by growing corn, peas, wheat, barley, hops, apples, pears, plums, nuts, and vegetables. They would also catch fish and hunt animals for meat. No cities existed during this time period but that does not mean people were living in poverty. They probably had trade relationships with other countries who did have cities. People probably traveled between villages to sell their products or buy things they didn't have access to in their village.