tateana juukyo 竪穴住居
KEY WORD : architecture / folk dwellings
A pit dwelling. Generally a house type with a sunken, excavated floor. Houses of this type existed in Japan from the Joumon period until the end of the mediaeval period and are considered to have north Asian cultural affinities. To judge from archaeological evidence, during the Joumon, Yayoi and Kofun periods, this was perhaps the commonest Japanese house type. From the late Kofun period it began to give place numerically to the *heichi juukyo 平地住居. Tateana juukyo remained numerous in the far north until into the 16c, and as a winter house, toichise といちせ among the Ainu アイヌ of Ezo 蝦夷, Hokkaidou 北海道 until later. There may also be a connection with the sunken-floored winter workspaces, called *muro 室, found in parts of Chuubu 中部 and the Kantou 関東 regions in the Edo period. The general construction pattern involved excavating a pit for the floor and then roofing it, usually with thatch or some of the material excavated, supported on a timber roof frame, If the span warranted it, earthfast posts *hottatebashira 掘立柱, were set in the pit to help support the roof. Though occasionally dwarf walls were used, the ends of the rafters were generally bedded upon a low peripheral baulk made from the excavated earth, and the roof extended virtually to ground level. There is great variety in shape (oval, square or rectangular with rounded corners, polygonal), size (from 2.5 x 2.5 m to a huge longhouse 31 x 9 m found at Sugizawadai 杉沢台 in Akita prefecture) and the depth of the pit (from 50 cm to over 1m). A square-plan type with rounded corners and four posts defining a putative *jouya 上屋 and *geya 下屋 became extremely widespread in the Kofun period. Remains of platforms around the edge of the interior, perhaps for sitting or sleeping on have been found in some examples but internal space division seems to have been rare. An open hearth *jiro 地炉, often located in the centre, was a common feature in the Joumon and Yayoi periods, and this gave place to a *kamado 竈 set against a side wall and equipped with an external chimney stack in the Kofun period.


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