A burdei or bordei (Romanian: bordei, Ukrainian: бурдей[1]) is a type of half-dugout shelter, somewhat between a sod house and a log cabin. This style is native to the Carpathian Mountains and forest steppes of eastern Europe.



In the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture burdei houses were characterized by elliptical shapes. These houses would typically have a wooden floor that was about 1.5 meters (5 feet) below ground, which would place the roof at just above ground level.[2]

Early middle ages

The term used by western historians, for burdei-type housing on the Lower Danube and in the Carpathians during the 6th–7th centuries AD, is Grubenhaus. Poluzemlianki is used by Russian researchers. The Russian term refers to a structure partially dug into the ground, often less than 1 m deep.

The Grubenhaus was erected over a rectangular pit, ranging in size from four square meters to twenty-five square meters of floor area. During the 6th and 7th centuries the sunken buildings east and south of the Carpathians, were under 15 square meters in floor surface.[3] The experiments of the Archeological Open-Air Museum in Březno near Louny have reconstructed the living and temperature conditions in the dug houses.[4]

The building experiment consisted of two houses, which were exact replicas of two sunken buildings excavated on the site, one of the late sixth or early seventh century, the other of the ninth. The sixth- to seventh-century feature was relatively large (4.20 x 4.60 m) and deep (80 cm under the original ground). The excavation of the rectangular pit represented some fifteen cubic meters of earth. The excavation, as well as other, more complex, operations, such as binding horizontal sticks on the truss or felling and transport of trees, required a minimum of two persons. The building of the house took 860 hours, which included the felling of trees for rafters and the overall preparation of the wood. Building the actual house required 2.2 cubic meters of wood (ash, oak, and beech). In itself, the superstructure swallowed two cubic meters of wood. Three to four cubic meters of clay were necessary for daubing the walls and reeds harvested from some 1,000 square meters, for the covering of the superstructure. Assuming sixty to seventy working hours per week and a lot more experience and skills for the early medieval builders, the house may have been built in three to four weeks.59 -Florin Curta.[3][5]

Eastern Europe

Bucharest - Village Museum 8
Village Museum "Dimitrie Gusti", Bucharest. Bordei from Drăghiceni, Olt county,19th century
Muzeul Naţional al Satului "Dimitrie Gusti" BucureştiIMG 1021
Interior of a bordei (burdei) dwelling. National Village Museum "Dimitrie Gusti", Bucharest

In countries like Romania, the burdei was built to constitute a permanent housing place and could accommodate a whole family. Thus, a Romanian burdei could have multiple rooms, typically a fire-room where the stove was installed, a cellar, and a living room.[6]

North America

This type of shelter was created by many of the earliest Ukrainian Canadian settlers as their first home in Canada at the end of the 19th century. The first step was to peel back and save the sod, then excavate the earth to a depth of approximately a metre. A poplar roof frame was then created, over which the saved sod would be laid. Then a window, a door, a wood stove, and a bed platform would be installed. A typical burdei measured no more than two by four metres. The burdei was a temporary refuge until a "proper" home of poplar logs and mud/straw plaster could be built.[7]

Mennonites from Imperial Russia settled in the Hillsboro region of Kansas, and also built burdei housings as temporary shelters. This type of shelter was also called a zemlyanka or a saraj (a Low German spelling for a Russian word meaning "shed"). The March 20, 1875, issue of the national weekly newspaper Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper described the structures:

...is the quaint brand-new village of Gnadenau, where there are some twenty small farmers, who have built the queerest and most comfortable cheap houses ever seen in the West, and with the least amount of timber, being merely a skeleton roof built on the ground and thatched with prairie-grass. They serve for man and beast, being divided on the inside by a partition of adobe.

— [8]

See also


  1. ^ "бурдей" in Etymolohichnyĭ Slovnyk Ukraïns′koï Movy (Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language), O.S. Mel′nychuk, Vol. 1, 1982.
  2. ^ Sorochin, Victor (2004). "Așezările cucuteniene tip Soloceni" [Soloceni type Cucuteni villages]. Memoria Antiqvitatis. Piatra Neamț, Romania: Muzeul de Istorie Piatra Neamț (Historical Museum Piatra Neamț). 23: 167–202. OCLC 241363071.
  3. ^ a b Florin Curta The Making of Slavs page 282
  4. ^ http://www.about-czechia.com/brezno/history.php>
  5. ^ Pleinerová 1986:113–14 and 139. Various prohibitions (e.g., selection of the building site, propitious time for starting the building, etc.), as well as a number of ritual practices pertaining to the symbolism attached to the house, some of which are known from the ethnographic evidence, may have considerably delayed the building process.
  6. ^ Castranova Village Museum Archived March 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (in Romanian).
  7. ^ Lehr, John C (1992). "Ukrainians in Western Canada". In Allen G Noble (ed.). To build in a new land : ethnic landscapes in North America. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. pp. 309–30. ISBN 978-0-8018-4189-7.
  8. ^ "A Short History of the Mennonite Immigration to Kansas" Archived August 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine at the Hillsboro museum web site

External links

Bare Island projectile point

The Bare Island projectile point is a stone projectile point of prehistoric indigenous peoples of North America. It was named by Fred Kinsey in 1959 for examples recovered at the Kent-Halley site on Bare Island in Pennsylvania.

Celt (tool)

In archaeology, a celt is a long, thin, prehistoric, stone or bronze tool similar to an adze, a hoe or axe-like tool.


A cist ( or ; also kist ;

from Greek: κίστη or Germanic Kiste) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East.

A cist may have been associated with other monuments, perhaps under a cairn or long barrow. Several cists are sometimes found close together within the same cairn or barrow. Often ornaments have been found within an excavated cist, indicating the wealth or prominence of the interred individual.

This old word is preserved in the Swedish language, where "kista" is the word for a funerary coffin.

Cumberland point

A Cumberland point is a lithic projectile point, attached to a spear and used as a hunting tool. These sturdy points were intended for use as thrusting weapons and employed by various mid-Paleo-Indians (c. 11,000 BP) in the Southeastern US in the killing of large game mammals.

Folsom point

Folsom points are a distinct form of knapped stone projectile points associated with the Folsom tradition of North America. The style of tool-making was named after the Folsom Site located in Folsom, New Mexico, where the first sample was found by George McJunkin within the bone structure of a bison in 1908. The Folsom point was identified as a unique style of projectile point in 1926.


A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal or turret-shaped, often built in a park, garden or spacious public area.

Gnadenau, Kansas

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Grattoir de côté

A Grattoir de côté (translates from French as Side Scraper) is an archaeological term for a ridged variety of steep-scrapers distinguished by a working edge on one side. They were found at various archaeological sites in Lebanon including Ain Cheikh and Jdeideh II and are suggested to date to Upper Paleolithic stages three or four (Antelian).

Grinding slab

In archaeology, a grinding slab is a ground stone artifact generally used to grind plant materials into usable size, though some slabs were used to shape other ground stone artifacts. Some grinding stones are portable; others are not and, in fact, may be part of a stone outcropping.

Grinding slabs used for plant processing typically acted as a coarse surface against which plant materials were ground using a portable hand stone, or mano ("hand" in Spanish). Variant grinding slabs are referred to as metates or querns, and have a ground-out bowl. Like all ground stone artifacts, grinding slabs are made of large-grained materials such as granite, basalt, or similar tool stones.


A hut is a primitive dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials. Huts are a type of vernacular architecture because they are built of readily available materials such as wood, snow, ice, stone, grass, palm leaves, branches, hides, fabric, or mud using techniques passed down through the generations.

A hut is a shape of a lower quality than a house (durable, well-built dwelling) but higher quality than a shelter (place of refuge or safety) such as a tent and is used as temporary or seasonal shelter or in primitive societies as a permanent dwelling.T

Huts exist in practically all nomadic cultures. Some huts are transportable and can stand most conditions of weather.

Lamoka projectile point

Lamoka projectile points are stone projectile points manufactured by Native Americans what is now the northeastern United States, generally in the time interval of 3500-2500 B.C. They predate the invention of the bow and arrow, and are therefore not true "arrowheads", but rather atlatl dart points. They derive their name from the specimens found at the Lamoka site in Schuyler County, New York.

Neolithic architecture

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Pesse canoe

The Pesse canoe is believed to be the world's oldest known boat, and certainly the oldest known canoe. Carbon dating indicates that the boat was constructed during the early mesolithic period between 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE. It is now in the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands.

Plano point

In archeology, Plano point is flaked stone projectile points and tools created by the various Plano cultures of the North American Great Plains between 9000 BC and 6000 BC for hunting, and possibly to kill other humans.

They are bifacially worked and have been divided into numerous sub-groups based on variations in size, shape and function including Alberta points, Cody points, Frederick points, Eden points and Scottsbluff points. Plano points do not include the hollowing or 'fluting' found in Clovis and Folsom points.

Quiggly hole

A quiggly hole, also known as a pit-house or simply as a quiggly or kekuli, is the remains of an earth lodge built by the First Nations people of the Interior of British Columbia and the Columbia Plateau in the U.S. The word quiggly comes from kick willy or keekwulee, the Chinook Jargon word for "beneath" or "under".


In archeology, a racloir, also known as racloirs sur talon (French for scraper on the platform), is a certain type of flint tool made by prehistoric peoples.

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Tool stone

In archaeology, a tool stone is a type of stone that is used to manufacture stone tools,

or stones used as the raw material for tools.Generally speaking, tools that require a sharp edge are made using cryptocrystalline materials that fracture in an easily controlled conchoidal manner.

Cryptocrystalline tool stones include flint and chert, which are fine-grained sedimentary materials; rhyolite and felsite, which are igneous flowstones; and obsidian, a form of natural glass created by igneous processes. These materials fracture in a predictable fashion, and are easily resharpened. For more information on this subject, see lithic reduction.

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Yubetsu technique

The Yubetsu technique (湧別技法, Yūbetsu gihō) is a special technique to make microblades, proposed by Japanese scholar Yoshizaki in 1961, based on his finds in some Upper Palaeolithic sites in Hokkaido, Japan, which date from c. 13,000 bp.

The name comes from the Yūbetsu River (湧別川, Yubetsugawa), on the right bank of which the Shirataki (白滝遺跡, Shirataki Iseki) Palaeolithic sites were discovered.

To make microblades by this technique, a large biface is made into a core which looks like a tall carinated scraper. Then one lateral edge of the bifacial core is removed, producing at first a triangular spall. After, more edge removals will produce ski spalls of parallel surfaces.

This technique was also used from Mongolia to Kamchatka Peninsula during the later Pleistocene.

Hut dwelling designs and semi-permanent human shelters
Traditional immobile
Traditional mobile
Named huts
Related topics

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