earliest domestic dwelling?


I'm trying to get some idea of when the earliest rectilinear domestic buildings with walls and pitched roofs appeared (but not roundhouses/tents/caves).
I assume the emergence of pitched roofs would tie-in the development of agriculture/settlements/tools capable of cutting timber - but roughly when and where?
Any ideas?
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John....
I don't pretend to be an expert in this...but I have both taught and studied architectural history and anthropology. Here is what I know ....and what I think I know:
1. The original motivation for building a pitched roof was probably to shed rain and/or snow. A flat roof allows rain and/or snow to build up to the point of collapse. That is why the flat roof was so common in the dry hot Mesopotamian cities which are the first of what we often call the "historical world".
2. I would welcome the input of more serious historians....but I believe that in many cases the most ancient wood-framed pitched roofs have left little physical evidence due to rot and fire. Somewhere in the back of my over-crowded brain I think I have heard of pre-agricultural construction like this in Europe.
3. While there is clearly a certain appeal to the idea that the form you described is the result of agriculture, I don't know that it is completely true. For instance, humans did not develop agriculture before around 10,000 BC....and I believe there is evidence of the pitched roof over straight walls in older cultures....at least during the mesolithic cultures from roughly 32,000 to 10,000 BC. This would make sense since we know that these people had tools dating all the way back to the Paleolithic that were perfectly capable of this type of construction....and the form is useful even before farming.
I could probably dig up some examples....but no doubt others have some specific examples. Hopefully this helps move the conversation forward.
Thanks for the question and Good luck!
Christopher Egan Egan/Martinez design San Antonio, Texas y Mexico City
www.egan-martinez.com
John wrote:

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I'd also go with it being an easier, more natural, construction. Starting with the lean-to. Then any of the essentially lean-to buildings, even fancy ones with two columns and a central ridge. Walls would be a luxury "Wouldn't it be neat to have more vertical space at the edges?"

Before anything as dramatic as collapse, you'd get puddling and penetration.
Before anything as dramatic as puddling, you'd get simple failure to run off along the branches/leaves and dripping.

Gotta call you on this. That's a total failure of expression. "Flat roofs collapse under rain. That's why they are common in a hot dry place." What you've said is that Mesopotamians want their roofs to collapse under water/snow loading. That seems very unlikely.

My understanding is that we tend to know from ceramic grave goods. Clay models of evidently/clearly timber prototypes. Some also from holes in the mud - "Look, lots of small holes in a circle. They must have stuck saplings in the ground and tied them together at the top." And, of course, presuming that various contemporary (or documented near contemporary) Groups of Anthropological Interest around the world are building in ancient/pre-historic modes.

I kinda bailed on the OP, but the idea that agriculture caused the growth/invention of many things is common.

My mind is being a blank.
Ah...

when
You assume too much and your assumptions will lead you to the wrong answer.
The first pitched roof was a couple branches leaned up against a fallen log or boulder.
There is no correlation between pitched roof and rectangular plan.
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gruhn wrote:


I wouldn't consider a lean-to with two supports and a ridge as fancy. The elevated crosspiece, regardless of how it was supported, was almost certainly linear and there's no jump at all to realizing that the roof sloping down in both directions provides far more protection. Central ridge > rectangular plan. I agree that it has nothing at all to do with agriculture. It's the simplest and fastest structure to build and suited for a nomadic life.
R
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life.
Disagree. Stick a single pole in the ground and lean things against that - gives you a round dwelling, requires fewer large members, avoids needing to make structure out of those large members. Others have found that working without a major structural member(s) works perfectly well (heavy == not suited to nomadic). A number of these solutions that come to mind are also round. Interestingly, I do seem to recall a building formed by two parallel walls of bundles of reeds pulled in to a center line - Egyptian.
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gruhn wrote:

A lean-to crosspiece need not be heavy. It's also most plausible that the earliest structures with a ridge weren't free-standing. A crosspiece resting in the crotches of two trees is about as simple as it gets.
Of course there were many variations, and there's no doubt that the earliest cover was simply leaned against a tree or rock, or covered a pit. But the OP is asking about ridges.
If you have the material to make the roof and ridge, you've got sufficient trees nearby. Nomadic doesn't mean that they would pack everything up and move. It didn't matter how heavy the structures were since they didn't take them with them.
The builders weren't even Homo Sapiens. The earliest manmade structures I've read about are half a million years old. The fact that the structure had post holes was the primary evidence of its existence. Earlier structures, requiring less building skills, would leave no traces at all.
There can be no definitive answer to when the earliest structure with a ridge appeared, and probably never will be - it's all supposition...I suppose. ;)
R
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