The huts are shelters or constructions made on solid ground using branches, rocks and mud. They can be rectangular or circular, their interior is in one piece without divisions. The roof is made of branches or palms with a conical shape in order to prevent rainwater from entering the interior. They are traditional constructions of some indigenous peoples and even today, they are used by various tribes that live in the open and continue the traditional work of their ancestors.
They are dwellings built on pillars or stakes over still bodies of water such as lakes, lagoons and streams with irregular and slow courses. Some may be built on land or by the sea and are designed as stilt houses to withstand flooding. According to archaeological research, stilt houses existed in prehistoric Europe in France, Scotland, Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania.
In Latin American countries, particularly in Venezuela, they were discovered on August 24, 1499 by Alonso de Ojeda when he discovered Lake Maracaibo, together with Juan de la Cosa and Américo Vespucio. The natives of that place lived in stilt houses, this reminded him of Venice and inspired him to baptize it with the name of the Gulf of Venezuela (little Venice), this name would spread to the rest of the country.
Today hundreds of houses, businesses and schools are located on water courses built as stilt houses, in this way, they withstand floods and rising rivers without reporting damage.
Differences between hut and stilt house
- A hut is a type of shelter that can be built anywhere, always on the ground. It can be rectangular or circular and its interior has no divisions. The walls can be made of stone, sticks and trunks joined with mud and other materials. The roof is conical and made with palm branches.
- A palafitte is a house built on water. They are usually supported on wooden stilts and have a much firmer roof than that of the huts. Its walls are made of interwoven palms or fine wood. The materials must be firm, but light.