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Korea's Architectural Prehistoric Period


The San guo chih, one of the earliest sources documented about ancient Korea written in Chinese, recorded the existence of three types of prehistoric dwellings in Korea: pit houses, log houses and elevated houses. Only the remains of pit houses have been identified, however. Pit houses consisted of a 20-150 cm deep pit and a superstructure of grass and clay supported by a tripod-like frame made of timber to provide protection from the wind and rain. Pit houses of the Neolithic period had circular or oval pits about 5-6 meters in diameter with a hearth at the center. Most of the early ones were located on hills. As these dwellings moved down nearer to rivers, the pits became rectangular in shape as well as larger, with two separated hearths.

 

Log houses were built by laying logs horizontally one on top of one another. The interstices between the logs were filled with clay to keep the wind out. Similar houses are still found in mountainous areas as like Kangwon-do province.

Elevated houses, which probably originated in the southern regions, are believed to have first been built as storage houses to store grains out of the reach of animals and to keep them cool. This style still survives in the two-story pavilions and lookout stands erected in melon patches and orchards around the countryside.


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