Page:The American Indian.djvu/152

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108
THE AMERICAN INDIAN

tangular hut; but in Guiana we begin to encounter the oval thatched house of Brazil. Of some interest are the pile-dwellings of the north coast, now almost extinct, though a few survive in swamps and even on dry land. In some of the inundated districts floating houses are found. Finally, the meager archæological data we have reveal only one important site at the mouth of the Amazon where mound structures have been reported.

The structure of habitations in the United States and Canada has been carefully studied so that we can make very definite statements as to the types and their distributions.[1] Nowhere outside of the frontier to the Pueblo area do we find buildings of stone until we reach the Eskimo. Consequently, there is very little content to the archæology of architecture, our data being almost exclusively from the surviving tribes. The only building that reminds us of the traits we have discussed in our consideration of the area of intense maize culture was found in the lower Mississippi Valley, a rectangular house with walls of clay reinforced by wattling. Sometimes, as in Arkansas, there were two or three rooms suggesting the houses of Colombia, but these were not the prevailing type on the lower Mississippi.

The Gulf States form a fairly distinct house area. Particularly on the Atlantic side were curious oblong rectangular houses with curved, or bowed, roofs. Their construction was simple, a framework of light poles, lashed into place, with coverings of bark or thatch. (For type illustrations see the Handbook of American Indians.) In the Florida swamps a kind of platform pile-dwelling is found, with roof and open sides reminding one of Guiana types. A very widely distributed structure is an oval dome-shaped house, plastered over with mud, with no opening except the door. In fact, none of these southern houses seems to have been provided with smoke holes, most of the cooking being done out-of-doors.

In northeastern United States the prevailing form among the Algonkin tribes was a low, oval framework of poles covered with bark, mats, or thatch, according to the season and locality. The Iroquois of New York, who are generally regarded as of

  1. Morgan, 1881. I