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Old 09-19-2013, 07:36 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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I watched a programme on tv this week about Colombian Indians who built houses of stone etc hundreds of years ago as did other cultures in South America but the native americans only seem to have some sort of mounds but no architecture at all as far as I can see, does anyone know why this happened..
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:43 AM
Location: Appalachian New York, Formerly Louisiana
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They actually did have a form of architecture. Some of the stone structures still exist. However, most of what the natives built was burned down by Europeans. Most of what existed in north America was destroyed and most likely forgotten.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:50 AM
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Many of them were nomadic, also.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:06 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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thanks for your answers.... Id love to know more about them ..
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:10 AM
Location: roaming gnome
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They did, plenty of them still exist in Florida that the Spanish used for their own stuff or built on top of. What were good military places for the Indians ended up being good for the Spanish fighting the British. They weren't like the incas and aztecs though, no.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:28 AM
Location: New Mexico --> Vermont in 2019
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Taos, New Mexico: This pueblo has existed since about 1000 AD constructed from authentic adobe material (mud and straw bricks) and is refurbished frequently to maintain its structure. Not quite as solid as the stone construction of say Roman Aqueducts, but one of the few remaining relics of continuous civilization over millennia in the US.

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Old 09-19-2013, 10:15 AM
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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Amazing, thanks for that.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:41 AM
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I think there are a variety of explanations. As shown above, there definitely are some examples of permanent structures that have lasted through time (Mesa Verde is another good example).

The point about Europeans destroying native settlements is a very valid one as well...I don't know if a lot of the wood/animal hide/and earthen structures would've stood the test of time, but it didn't help that they were forced off their land so the Europeans/Americans could claim it.

Also factor in that many tribes were at least semi-nomadic and moved their communities as their food source moved (didn't have permanent structures).

I find it interesting, though, that the natives in Central and South America had much larger and more elaborate cities...probably due to a higher level of organization (Mayans, Incas, Aztecs).
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:46 AM
Location: roaming gnome
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This council house was reconstructed from archaelogical finds.
Apalachee Council House in Mission San Louis, Tallahassee, Florida, USA - YouTube

The spanish found the indians living there then cohabitated with them for awhile and built a fort, later the british invaded and occupied it for awhile.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:29 PM
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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The northeastern tribes, such as the Huron, Mohawk, Iroquois, Oneidas, and Cayugas, who lived in what is now Ontario, New York and Quebec, were what are called " Long House " people, who lived in communal buildings, that were covered on the outside by tree bark, with large log frames, inside. A number of long houses, that were occupied by multi generational family groups, were clustered together, and the entire village was surrounded by a wall of logs, set into the ground. The entrance way was a gate that hinged at the top, that could be closed in a hurry, if the village was attacked. The walls would have been about 15 feet high.

A typical long house was about 100 feet long and fifty feet wide, and about 30 feet high the peak of the roof. There would have been a number of smoke holes, in the roof to let out fire smoke. There were raised wooden benches, around the perimeter, to sit or sleep on. Fire places, lined with flat river stones, in a circle, were situated in the middle of the long house. Doors at either end, were wooden frames with bark or hide coverings.

Long houses were usually located near a fresh water source, such as a river or lake, and birch bark canoes were the traditional mode of travel, by water. The long house people did not have horses, nor did they use metal tools, before the first meetings with Europeans. They grew yearly crops of vegetables, such as corn, squash, and melons, and hunted for meat, and trapped fur bearing animals in the winter, for use as clothing and foot wear. They did not have buffalo, as those animals lived far away, on the western plains. They did have the large moose, and deer and elk, as the woods were full of them. A male moose can weigh over a thousand pounds, so it would feed a large number of people, for a few weeks. Moose are docile, and slow moving, usually found in or around a marsh, wet land. Think of a domestic cow, that eats only vegetation, but is about 6 feet tall at the shoulder.

Meat was preserved by curing it over a slow fire, and them mixing it with berries, and fat, to create a long lasting trail food, for hunters. Fish were caught and dried, and smoked. The long house people did not grow Tobacco but they did harvest wild rice, from marshes, with canoes. They made tools from stone, by splitting rocks into slivers, for scrapers and arrow heads. They had no written language, and used hand signs to communicate with other tribal groups.

The Mohawk and Iroquois were most war like, and attacked the other tribal groups for slaves, and individual reputation. A warrior who could Count coupe `by touching an enemy with a coupe stick, and get away with out being wounded or killed, had a high reputation in his clan structure. A clan was organised with a chief, and a number of sub chiefs, and all were related by blood or marriage, to each other. This created some problems with in breeding, that produced crippled or mentally challenged children, This was the prime motivation for slave raiding, to introduce new blood lines into a tribal group.

One of the traditional living styles, of the `Long House `people, the long house it`s self, contributed to their rapid decline. With no anti-bodies to protect them from diseases brought from Europe, they died by the thousands, when stricken by small pox, measles, and mumps. The Hurons, in particular, were decimated by disease, brought by the Catholic Jesuits, from France, starting in the early 1600`s.

Here is a link to a website for St Marie Among The Hurons ' a 20th century exact scale rebuilding of a Jesuit fort, on the original site, near modern day Midland, Ontario. it is open from May to October each year, as historical re-enactment site, with costumed staff, who portray both European and Aboriginal people.

Ontario Huronia Historical Parks Sainte-Marie among the Hurons

A second link to the Six Nations Confederacy, the modern home of the long house people in Ontario, near Brantford.

Six Nations Of The Grand River

Jim B

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