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Huge 25,000-yr-old Hut Discovered Made Entirely from Mammoth Bones
Archaeologists have recently uncovered the remains of a 40-foot wide, circular hut made entirely of mammoth bones. That includes tusks, skulls, and bones of over 60 woolly mammoths in Russia. The structure appears to be about 25,000 years old. Now they’re wondering what the structure could have been used for.
A study about the find was recently published in the journal Antiquity. Dr. Alexander Pryor is an archaeologist at the University of Exeter and the lead author for the study, and he expressed his amazement at the find. He remarked that the sheer number of tusks and bones that had to be found and all brought to the site was staggering. He also said that given how much time and work would have had to go into its construction, it clearly served an important function for the people who built it.
According to Smithsonian magazine, the structure was too large to have had a roof, which means it couldn’t have been a residence, and there are other clues, as well. The team which was working the site found over 400 pieces of charcoal, which is a sign that people built fires in the ring. The charcoal came from pines, larches, and spruce trees, demonstrating that those trees still grew in the area during the time the structure was in use.
The mammoth bone structure discovered. (A. E. Dudin)
The charcoal was carbon-dated and was determined to be about 25,000 years old, helping the team nail down when it was in use. They also found burnt mammoth bones, which suggests that people may have used wood to start their fires, but used the bones to keep them going. Bone fires may not have been as warm as wood fires, but they generate more light.
Close up of the structure, featuring long bones, a lower jaw (top middle) and articulated vertebrae. (AJE Pryor)
The team also found the remains of food scraps in the circle, including vegetables such as parsnips, potatoes, and carrots. Outside the circle, they found several pits which contained mammoth bones. Pryor suggested that given how much meat could be obtained from a single mammoth, it’s likely that the area may have been used to process and store meat reserves, and the greater amount of light that could be gained from bone fires would have allowed them to work later into night to process and store their food. The vegetables would have been a supplement to their meat-heavy diet.
The structure seen from above (A. E. Dudin)
Other people have speculated that since the structure was so large and complex, it may have had some ritual purpose. Pryor believes the two theories are not mutually exclusive, noting that food and ritual are both central to the lives of ancient peoples.
This isn’t the first time archaeologists have discovered building made from mammoth bones. Smaller bone structures have been found across Eastern Europe, most of them only a few meters across. Those smaller structures are generally considered to be dwellings that helped people survive the harsh, bitter weather that was endemic to the region during the last Ice Age.
The smaller structures, called mammoth houses, generally had defined cooking hearths, and contained evidence of the remains of animals like foxes, horses, and reindeer, sowing the people who lived in them ate whatever meat came their way.
The bones at the Russian site, however, were almost all mammoth bones, which would have been unlikely if people were using it as a residence, especially one where people stayed for an extended period of time. It’s also the first time researchers have found evidence that people who lived in the area back then burned wood inside. If no one was living there, though, why light fires?
To the study’s authors, one potential reason seems pretty straightforward. If the site was being used to process and store food, not only would the firelight allow people to keep working after darkness fell, but it would also give them the means to dry some food, make glue, and otherwise make good use of as much of the mammoths as they could.
The most interesting question is still how all the bones were obtained and brought to the site. The researchers have been wondering if they all come from animals they hunted or whether they were scavenged from other sites, or if it was some of both. If the bones came primarily from animals that they hunted themselves, what made the site such a prime spot for so many mammoths to come to again and again, even in the face of being actively hunted?
More study of the site and the bones within it will be necessary to gain further insight. Some of the mammoth bones were arranged the same way they would be if the animals were intact, which suggests that they were brought to the circle before the animals’ bodies could be eaten by other creatures.
However the mammoths reached the site, it’s clear that their presence was extremely important to the natives of the time since the ring structure is surrounded by signs of a settlement, including bone houses, storage pits, hearths, and working areas.
Perhaps the Oldest Surviving Architecture
Huts built from mammoth bones found along the Dniepr river valley of Ukraine, and at locations near Chernihiv, in Moravia, Czech Republic, and in southern Poland, that date between 23,000 BCE and 12,000 BCE, may be the earliest structures built by prehistoric man, and thus the earliest examples of architecture. Some of the most notable of these mammoth bone huts were found in Mezhyrich (Межиріч, Mezhirich), a village in central Ukraine located in the Kaniv Raion (district) of the Cherkasy Oblast, approximately 22 km from the region's administrative center, Kaniv, near the point where the Rosava River flows into the Ros'. Since 1966 at least four collapsed mammoth bone structures have been discovered in Mezhirich.
"They are composed of several hundred bones and tusks arranged in a rough circle, between 6 and 10 m (20 and 33 ft) in diameter. A hearth typically lies near the centre of the former dwelling, and stone tools and other debris are scattered within and outside the structure. Large pits filled with stone tools, bone fragements and ash have beenf ound near the houses.
"Considerable effort must have been required to assemble these structures. Even in a dry state, large mammoth bones weigh hundreds of pounds. It has been suggested that the bones and tusks were recovered from hunting episodes in which entire herds of adult mammoth and their young were slaughtered. A more likely explanation is that they were gathered from natural accumulations of bones perhaps at the mouths of streams and gullies near the sites. The primary purpose of the mammoth-bone dwellings which were presumably covered with animal skins, was probably shelter from extreme cold and high winds. Some archaeologists, impressed with the size and appearance of the structures, have argued that they also possess religious or social significance. The have been described as the earliest examples of 'monumental architecture' as as evidence of increased social complexity and status differentiation during the final phase of the Ice Age" (Paul G. Bahn (ed) 100 Great Archaeological Discoveries  54-55).
Experience Bible history at the life-size Noah’s Ark! Meet Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark. The family-friendly Ark Encounter theme park near Cincinnati also features a zoo, zip lines, and timber-frame restaurant.
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How London Bridge Ended Up In Arizona
In the early 1960s, officials in England made a troubling discovery: London Bridge was falling down. The 1,000-foot span had stood for over 130 years and survived strafing during World War II’s London Blitz, but it was unequipped for modern traffic and was slowly sinking into the River Thames at a rate of one inch every eight years. Renovations were deemed impractical, so the City of London resolved to build a wider, more car-friendly replacement. The 19th century granite bridge seemed destined for the junkyard, but a city councilor named Ivan Luckin convinced his colleagues that it might be possible to sell it in the United States. In 1968, he crossed the pond to market the monument to prospective buyers.
Luckin knew that London Bridge might be a tough sell. Completed in 1831 from a design by engineer John Rennie, it was the less glamorous successor of several other crossings, most notably the medieval London Bridge, which stood for 600 years and was once dotted with buildings and waterwheels. Londoners considered the existing bridge dull by comparison, but after arriving in America, Luckin promoted it as a timeless landmark. “London Bridge is not just a bridge,” he announced in a press conference in New York. “It is the heir to 2,000 years of history going back to the first century A.D., to the time of the Roman Londinium.”
American entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch, standing on London Bridge as it is dismantled, ready for transportation back to America, April 18th 1968. (Credit: Jim Gray/Keystone/Getty Images)
The London Bridge sales pitch raised more than a few eyebrows in the United States, but for one businessman, it seemed like a natural fit. Robert McCulloch was a Missouri-born industrialist who had made millions heading up companies that sold oil, motors and chainsaws. Shamelessly eccentric—he once told a reporter that the secret of his success was 𠇋ooze and broads”—the tycoon also had a penchant for pursuing pie-in-the-sky business schemes. The most recent had come in 1963, when he purchased thousands of acres of land near Arizona’s Lake Havasu, an isolated body of water created by a dam on the Colorado River. McCulloch had founded the community of Lake Havasu City at the site and had designs on making it a tourist oasis, but he was still struggling to attract visitors. When his business associate C.V. Wood told him about London Bridge, the two concluded that it was just the kind of eye-catching centerpiece Lake Havasu needed. McCulloch even hatched a plan to carve one of the lake’s peninsulas into an island so the bridge would have something to span. “I had this ridiculous idea of bringing it to the Arizona desert,” he later joked to the Chicago Tribune Magazine. “I needed the bridge, but even if I didn’t, I might have bought it anyway.”
Negotiations for the purchase proceeded rapidly during the spring of 1968. According to McCulloch, the most difficult part was hashing out a sales price with the City of London authorities. “We poured an awful lot of scotch trying to loosen them up enough to give us some idea of how much they wanted,” he told the Chicago Tribune Magazine. Finally, after learning that dismantling the bridge would cost London $1.2 million, McCulloch and Wood decided to offer double that amount. As a sweetener, McCulloch tacked on an additional $60,000—$1,000 for each year old he would be when the bridge reopened at Lake Havasu. In April 1968, for a final price of $2,460,000, Robert McCulloch became the proud owner of the world’s largest antique.
A Mysterious 25,000-Year-Old Structure Built of the Bones of 60 Mammoths
A jaw-dropping example of Ice Age architecture has been unearthed on Russia’s forest steppe: a huge, circular structure built with the bones of at least 60 woolly mammoths. But exactly why hunter-gatherers enduring the frigid realities of life 25,000 years ago would construct the 40-foot diameter building is a fascinating question.
“Clearly a lot of time and effort went into building this structure so it was obviously important to the people that made it for some reason,” says Alexander Pryor, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter (U.K.). He is the lead author of a new study published this week in the journal Antiquity describing the find at Kostenki, a place where many important Paleolithic sites lie clustered around the Don River.
The ancient builders did leave some clues. Fires once burned within the structure and food scraps, including vegetables, remain. Several pits containing mammoth bones lie just outside of the bone circle and may suggest food storage. “You obviously get a lot of meat from a mammoth,” Pryor said, “so the idea that there were food processing and food storage activities going on at the site is something that we want to investigate more.”
To some, though, the grandeur of the structure suggests more than practical significance. “People have also speculated a lot about a likely ritual element to this and it’s really hard to say what that might have been,” Pryor adds. “Ritual is embedded in human lives in all sorts of ways. The fact they might have designed a structure of this type as part of both their ritual and their sustenance activities is very reasonable.”
Location of the mammoth bone structure found in modern-day Russia (Courtesy of Pryor et. al.)
Mammoth-bone buildings are well-known to archaeologists. Similar structures have been found across Eastern Europe, albeit on a much smaller scale, a few meters in diameter. These sites, including others found at Kostenki during the 1950s and '60s, date back as far as 22,000 years. Researchers have generally considered them to be dwellings or “mammoth houses” that helped their builders cope with frigid temperatures near the nadir of the last Ice Age. The new structure (first discovered at Kostenki in 2014) is 3,000 years older.
"What a site!” says Penn State University anthropologist Pat Shipman, who wasn’t involved in the research. “I am completely intrigued as these remarkable finds differ meaningfully from previously discovered ones and can be more carefully and fully studied with modern techniques.”
The site stands out most obviously for its scale. “The size of the structure makes it exceptional among its kind, and building it would have been time-consuming,” says Marjolein Bosch, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Cambridge. “This implies that it was meant to last, perhaps as a landmark, a meeting place, a place of ceremonial importance, or a place to return to when the conditions grew so harsh that shelter was needed,” Bosch was not involved with the new research on this “ truly exceptional find” but has personally visited the site. Indeed, the structure’s sheer size makes it an unlikely everyday home. “I cannot possibly imagine how they would have roofed over this structure,” Pryor said.
The smaller mammoth houses feature more definite cooking hearths, and they contain the remains of reindeer, horse and fox, which suggests the people in them were living on whatever they could find in the area. The new mammoth bone structure lacks evidence of other animal remains. “It’s almost exclusively woolly mammoth remains and that is one of the interesting things about it,” Pryor said.
“With no other animal bones, this doesn’t look much like a dwelling where people lived for a while,” Shipman added.
Close up of the structure, featuring long bones, a lower jaw (top middle) and articulated vertebrae (pointed out by excavator) (AJE Pryor)
Intriguingly, the new structure is the first of its kind to yield evidence that its occupants burnt wood inside and not just bone. “It’s the first time anyone’s found large pieces of charcoal inside one of these structures. So it does show that trees were in the environment,” Pryor said.
Tree ring widths in the charcoal are narrow, suggesting the trees probably struggled to survive in that landscape. Previous studies suggested that even on the Ice Age’s arid steppes, coniferous trees would have endured in forests stretching along riversides like those close to Kostenki—a draw for people looking to survive.
Still, if people weren’t living in the structure, then why did they make fires?
“Fire in the past can be seen as a tool much the same as chipped stone implements and worked bones are,” Bosch says. Fires provided heat and light, barbecued and roasted food, dried meat for storage and processed glues for stone-tipped tools. “Here, the fires were lit inside a structure and its use as a light source seems intuitive,” she says. “If the authors are correct in their assumption of its use as a place for food storage, it may also have been used to dry meat.” There may be ways to test these ideas. Finding drops of fat on the floor, for example, could show that meat was dried over the flames.
The local diet also appears to have featured a smorgasbord of vegetables. By using water and sieve flotation techniques, the team discovered pieces of plant tissue among the charcoal. “This is the first time we have a plant food component discovered in any of these structures,” Pryor says. His team hasn’t identified specific species yet but notes that the tissues are like those found in modern roots and tubers such as carrots, potatoes or parsnips.
The new structure seen from above (A. E. Dudin)
The astounding assemblage of bones from more than 60 mammoths raises the question: Where did they all come from? Scientists aren’t sure if the animals were hunted, scavenged from sites of mass deaths or some combination of the two.
“There must be something about the topography of the site that makes it a place where, over and over, herds of mammoths are coming through and can be killed or will be killed naturally, like at a river crossing,” says Penn State’s Pat Shipman. “I can imagine no way [these] people could possibly kill 60 mammoths at a time, because proboscideans (the order of mammals to which both mammoths and living elephants belong) are smart and catch on if members of their herd are being killed, even with modern automatic weapons.”
Further studies of the mammoth bones will yield more clues about their source. Some were arranged in the same order and position as they were in the skeleton. “This means that the bones were brought to the site as body part which some soft tissue (skin, muscle, and tendons) still attached,” Bosch said. “Therefore, they must have been transported before carnivores had the chance to eat and clean the bones. This implies that the builders had early access to the mammoth remains.”
Shipman adds: “I want to know if the bones have been processed or transported or if we are looking at whole skeletons or carcasses piled up for future use. Moving a dead mammoth cannot have been easy even if it was largely de-fleshed.”
Researchers excavating the mammoth site. (A. E. Dudin)
However the mammoths got here, their presence was crucial to the humans living in the area. Lioudmila Lakovleva of the French National Centre for Scientific Research notes that “the complete settlement shows several mammoth bone dwellings, walls, enclosure, pits, working areas, hearths, dumping areas and butchering areas,” she says.
Kostenki was a focus for human settlement throughout the last ice age, Pryor said: “It’s a huge investment in this particular place in the landscape.” His team has some theories as to why. “There’s evidence that there were natural freshwater springs in the area which would have remained liquid throughout the year,” he says. “That warmed water would have drawn animals, including mammoth, and in turn attracted humans to the same spot.”
While the site raises many intriguing questions, Pryor said that it already tells us something certain about the people who built it.
“This project is giving us a real insight into how our human ancestors adapted to climate change, to the harshest parts of the last glacial cycle, and adapted to use the materials that they had around them,” he said. “It’s really a story of survival in the face of adversity.”
Although we can’t possibly know who exactly designed and built the structure, archaeologists estimate it was erected by a group of hunter-gatherers who saw a need to settle—for at least a short period—at the site.
The structure is large: it measures 11 meters across, and archaeologists say it must have required a great effort to build. The bones used in the construction were obtained from mammoths that were hunted in the region and other animals like wolves, horses, bears, reindeer, and arctic foxes.
Archaeologists have excavated a total of 51 lower jaws and more than 60 individual mammoths skulls.
While experts still don’t known the exact purpose of the restructure, evidence of human occupation within it has been found.
Researchers have discovered that the ancient people who built it burned wood inside it.
Archeologists found charred wood in the soil samples within. One possibility is that the structure was used as a kind of shelter that helped protect a larger group of people from extreme weather.
Another possibility is that the ancient building was used as a gathering center where ritualistic or religious ceremonies took place.
The Kostenki 11 archaeological site is unique, but other similar structure have been found across Europe, although none of these structures are as old as the one at the Kostenki 11 site.
Previous constructions made of mammoth bones were found to date no later than 22,000 years ago. The Kostenki 11 site’s circular structure is at least 3,000 years older than all other similar sites.
Various similar circular structures tell us that ancient people were already engaged in building large structures much earlier than previously thought.
An image of the archaeological site where the mammoth bone structure was found. Image Credit: Alex Pryor.
George Van Tassel was a former aircraft mechanic and flight inspector who moved to California's Mojave Desert to operate an airport and inn. While there, he began meditating under Giant Rock, which the Native Americans of the area held sacred. In August 1953, Van Tassel claimed he had been contacted both telepathically and later in person by people from space, who gave him a technique to rejuvenate human cell tissue. Acting on these instructions, Van Tassel began constructing the Integratron in 1954. Construction costs were partly paid for by an annual series of successful UFO conventions, the Giant Rock Spacecraft Conventions, which continued for nearly 25 years. The main structure's construction was complete circa 1959, but Van Tassel continued to work on the device until his sudden death in 1978. 
According to Van Tassel, the Integratron's workings rely on the generation of strong "intermittent magnetic fields" resulting in the generation of plasma in the form of a coronal discharge and negative air ionization inside the building. The Integratron is based on the Multiple Wave Oscillator, invented by Georges Lakhovsky, a combination of a high voltage Tesla coil and a split-ring resonator that generates ultra wideband electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). Van Tassel speculated that electromagnetism affects biological cells, and believed that every biological cell has a unique resonant EMF. According to van Tassel, the generation of strong ultra wideband EMF by the Integratron "resonates" with the cell's frequency and "recharges" the cellular structure as if it were an electrical battery. Van Tassel claimed that human cells "rejuvenated" while inside the structure. Van Tassel also claimed the Integratron is intentionally constructed atop a powerful geomagnetic anomaly and its construction is entirely of non-ferromagnetic materials, the equivalent to a modern radome. 
There is considerable debate about many of these sites, leading to more confusion about how many mammoth bone huts have been identified. All have massive amounts of mammoth bone, but the debate for some of them centers on whether the bone deposits include mammoth-bone structures. All of the sites date to the Upper Paleolithic period (Gravettian or Epi-Gravettian), with the sole exception of Molodova 1, which dates to the Middle Stone Age and is associated with Neanderthals.
Penn State archaeologist Pat Shipman has provided additional sites (and the map) to include in this list, which includes some very dubious attributions:
- Ukraine:Molodova 5, Molodova I, Mezhirich, Kiev-Kirillovskii, Dobranichevka, Mezin, Ginsy, Novgorod-seversky, Gontsy, Pushkari, Radomyshl'
- Czech Republic: Predmosti, Dolni Vestonice, Vedrovice 5, Milovice G
- Poland: Dzierzyslaw, Krakow-Spadzista Street B
- Romania: Ripiceni-Izvor
- Russia:Kostenki I, Avdeevo, Timonovka, Elisseevich, Suponevo, Yudinovo
- Belarus: Berdyzh
Construction with logs was described by Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio in his architectural treatise De Architectura. He noted that in Pontus (modern-day northeastern Turkey), dwellings were constructed by laying logs horizontally overtop of each other and filling in the gaps with "chips and mud". 
Historically log cabin construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Although their origin is uncertain, the first log structures were probably being built in Northern Europe by the Bronze Age (about 3500 BC). C. A. Weslager describes Europeans as having:
. accomplished in building several forms of log housing, having different methods of corner timbering, and they utilized both round and hewn logs. Their log building had undergone an evolutionary process from the crude "pirtti". a small gabled-roof cabin of round logs with an opening in the roof to vent smoke, to more sophisticated squared logs with interlocking double-notch joints, the timber extending beyond the corners. Log saunas or bathhouses of this type are still found in rural Finland. By stacking tree trunks one on top of another and overlapping the logs at the corners, people made the "log cabin". They developed interlocking corners by notching the logs at the ends, resulting in strong structures that were easier to make weather-tight by inserting moss or other soft material into the joints. As the original coniferous forest extended over the coldest parts of the world, there was a prime need to keep these cabins warm. The insulating properties of the solid wood were a great advantage over a timber frame construction covered with animal skins, felt, boards or shingles. Over the decades, increasingly complex joints were developed to ensure more weather tight joints between the logs, but the profiles were still largely based on the round log. 
Nevertheless, a medieval log cabin was considered movable property (a chattel house), as evidenced by the relocation of Espåby village in 1557: the buildings were simply disassembled, transported to a new location and reassembled. It was also common to replace individual logs damaged by dry rot as necessary.
The Wood Museum in Trondheim, Norway, displays fourteen different traditional profiles, but a basic form of log construction was used all over North Europe and Asia and later imported to America.
Log construction was especially suited to Scandinavia, where straight, tall tree trunks (pine and spruce) are readily available. With suitable tools, a log cabin can be erected from scratch in days by a family. As no chemical reaction is involved, such as hardening of mortar, a log cabin can be erected in any weather or season. Many older towns in Northern Scandinavia have been built exclusively out of log houses, which have been decorated by board paneling and wood cuttings. Today, construction of modern log cabins as leisure homes is a fully developed industry in Finland and Sweden. Modern log cabins often feature fiberglass insulation and are sold as prefabricated kits machined in a factory, rather than hand-built in the field like ancient log cabins.
Log cabins are mostly constructed without the use of nails and thus derive their stability from simple stacking, with only a few dowel joints for reinforcement. This is because a log cabin tends to compress slightly as it settles, over a few months or years. Nails would soon be out of alignment and torn out.
A timber cutter's mountain log cabin at the Museum of Folk Architecture, Pyrohiv, Ukraine.
A typical Volhynian log cabin: Shpykhlir in the village of Samara in Rivne Oblast
Ornamental woodcarving in the shape of an eagle's head on a projecting log in the wall of the loft from Ose at Norsk Folkemuseum.
In the present-day United States, settlers may have first constructed log cabins by 1640. Historians believe that the first log cabins built in North America were in the Swedish colony of Nya Sverige (New Sweden) in the Delaware River and Brandywine River valleys. Most of the settlers were actually Forest Finns (a heavily oppressed Finnish ethnic group originally from Savonia and Tavastia, who starting from the 1500s were displaced or persuaded to go inhabit and practice slash and burn agriculture (which they were famous for in eastern Finland) in the deep forests of inland Sweden and Norway, during Sweden's 600+ year colonial rule over Finland, who since 1640 were being captured and displaced to the colony.  After arriving, they would escape the Fort Christina center where the Swedes lived, to go and live in the forest as they did back home. There they encountered the Lenni Lenape tribe of Delaware, whom they found a lot of cultural similarities with (slash & burn agriculture, sweat lodges/saunas, love of forests, etc.), thus they ended up living alongside and even culturally assimilating with them  (they are the earlier and lesser-known Findian tribe,   being overshadowed by the Ojibwe Findians of Minnesota, Michigan and Ontario, Canada). In those forests, the first log cabins of America were built, using traditional Finnish methods. Even though New Sweden only existed briefly before it was absorbed by the Dutch colony of New Netherland, which was eventually taken over by the English, these quick and easy construction techniques of the Finns not only remained, but spread. [ citation needed ]
Later German and Ukrainian immigrants also used this technique. The contemporaneous British settlers had no tradition of building with logs, but they quickly adopted the method. The first English settlers did not widely use log cabins, building in forms more traditional to them.  Few log cabins dating from the 18th century still stand, but they were often not intended as permanent dwellings. Possibly the oldest surviving log house in the United States is the C. A. Nothnagle Log House (ca. 1640) in New Jersey. Settlers often built log cabins as temporary homes to live in while constructing larger, permanent houses then they either demolished the log structures or usedoften used them as outbuildings, such as barns or chicken coops. [ citation needed ]
Log cabins were sometimes hewn on the outside so that siding might be applied they also might be hewn inside and covered with a variety of materials, ranging from plaster over lath to wallpaper. [ citation needed ]
Log cabins were built from logs laid horizontally and interlocked on the ends with notches (British English cog joints). Some log cabins were built without notches and simply nailed together, but this was not as structurally sound. Modern building methods allow this shortcut.
The most important aspect of cabin building is the site upon which the cabin was built. Site selection was aimed at providing the cabin inhabitants with both sunlight and drainage to make them better able to cope with the rigors of frontier life. Proper site selection placed the home in a location best suited to manage the farm or ranch. When the first pioneers built cabins, they were able to "cherry pick" the best logs for cabins. These were old-growth trees with few limbs (knots) and straight with little taper. Such logs did not need to be hewn to fit well together. Careful notching minimized the size of the gap between the logs and reduced the amount of chinking (sticks or rocks) or daubing (mud) needed to fill the gap. The length of one log was generally the length of one wall, although this was not a limitation for most good cabin builders.
Decisions had to be made about the type of cabin. Styles varied greatly from one part of North America to another: the size of the cabin, the number of stories, type of roof, the orientation of doors and windows all needed to be taken into account when the cabin was designed. In addition, the source of the logs, the source of stone and available labor, either human or animal, had to be considered. If timber sources were further away from the site, the cabin size might be limited.
Cabin corners were often set on large stones if the cabin was large, other stones were used at other points along the sill (bottom log). Since they were usually cut into the sill, thresholds were supported with rock as well. These stones are found below the corners of many 18th-century cabins as they are restored. Cabins were set on foundations to keep them out of damp soil but also to allow for storage or basements to be constructed below the cabin. Cabins with earth floors had no need for foundations.
Cabins were constructed using a variety of notches. Notches can vary within ethnic groups as well as between them. Notches often varied on a single building, so their styles were not conclusive. One method common in the Ohio River Valley in southwestern Ohio and southeastern Indiana is the Block House End Method. An example of this is found in the David Brown House.
Some older buildings in the United States Midwest and the Canadian Prairies are log structures covered with clapboards or other materials. Nineteenth-century cabins used as dwellings were occasionally plastered on the interior. The O'Farrell Cabin (ca. 1865) in Boise, Idaho, had backed wallpaper used over newspaper. The C.C.A. Christenson Cabin in Ephraim, Utah (ca. 1880) was plastered over willow lath.
Log cabins reached their peak of complexity and elaboration with the Adirondack-style cabins of the mid-19th century. This style was the inspiration for many United States Park Service lodges built at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Log cabin building never died out or fell out of favor. It was surpassed by the needs of a growing urban United States. During the 1930s and the Great Depression, the Roosevelt Administration directed the Civilian Conservation Corps to build log lodges throughout the west for use by the Forest Service and the National Park Service. Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon was such a log structure, and it was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1930, the world's largest log cabin was constructed at a private resort in Montebello, Quebec, Canada. Often described as a "log château", it serves as the Château Montebello hotel.
The modern version of a log cabin is the log home, which is a house built usually from milled logs. The logs are visible on the exterior and sometimes interior of the house. These cabins are mass manufactured, traditionally in Scandinavian countries and increasingly in eastern Europe. Squared milled logs are precut for easy assembly. Log homes are popular in rural areas, and even in some suburban locations. In many resort communities in the United States West, homes of log and stone measuring over 3,000 sq ft (280 m 2 ) are not uncommon. These "kit" log homes are one of the largest consumers of logs in the Western United States.
In the United States, log homes have embodied a traditional approach to home building, one that has resonated throughout American history. It is especially interesting to discover that, in today's world, log homes represent a technology that allows a home to be built with a high degree of sustainability. In fact, log homes are frequently considered to be on the leading edge of the green building movement.
Crib barns were a popular type of barn found throughout the U.S. south and southeast regions. Crib barns were especially ubiquitous in the Appalachian and Ozark Mountain states of North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.
In Europe, modern log cabins are often built in gardens and used as summerhouses, home offices or as an additional room in the garden. Summer houses and cottages are often built from logs in northern Europe.
Chinking refers to a broad range of mortar or other infill materials used between the logs in the construction of log cabins and other log-walled structures. Traditionally, dried mosses, such as Pleurozium schreberi or Hylocomium splendens, were used in the Nordic countries as an insulator between logs. In the United States, Chinks were small stones or wood or corn cobs stuffed between the logs.