Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe

Part of the series One World Archaeology pp 151-181


Of Time and the House: the Early Neolithic Communities of the Paris Basin and Their Domestic Architecture

  • Penny BickleAffiliated withSchool of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University Email author 

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The first Neolithic architectures in the Paris Basin were the Danubian-style longhouses of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. These enormous structures were first built about 5100 cal BC in this region and would have dwarfed Mesolithic structures in both size and durability. This chapter focuses on the lifecycle of the longhouse structure, examining in turn what it meant to build, live with and then abandon this type of architecture. Adding a temporal dimension to the study of domestic buildings enlivens static house plans and assists in the investigation of how the house operated as a locus for social memory. The cyclical routines of the agricultural year are considered here alongside the more linear trajectories of community formation and dissolution, in which the longhouse was implicated. The two longhouse cultures found in the Paris Basin, the Rubané Récent du Bassin parisien (RRBP) and the Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (VSG), are compared in order to investigate issues of cultural transformation. It is concluded that building a longhouse was a commitment to the local community on the scale of the human life-time at least, while older houses left to decay in situ became a focus for recalling and connecting with the past.


Linearbandkeramik (LBK) Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (VSG) Paris Basin Longhouse Lifecycle