‘Grubenhäuser’ - Pit Houses
Pit houses have existed for over 7000 years and have occurred in various forms throughout Europe. Nowadays pit houses can be still found in Baltic countries. Archaeologists at the Grubenhäuser, a Saxon settlement in Warendorf (Westphalia), have documented no traces of ovens and stoves, therefore it is thought that they were not heated at all.
However the marks of looms and loom weights found suggest that some of these pit houses were used for textile production; the weaving looms stood at an angle to the wall.
Despite the poor lighting conditions, the high humidity in the pit houses made them ideal for producing and processing fabrics as this increased the elasticity of the fibers and yarns.
Weight weaving loom
Working on a weight weaving loom was done while standing, mostly by women. The principle of weaving is still the same today as it was then.
Grubenhäuser were not only used for handcrafting, but could also have been used as a sauna, storage space, or workshop for example for metal processing, or in exceptional cases to live in.
The replica pit house here is based on an archaeological find with 10 posts on the long side and a thatched roof with 10 ridge turrets. With a floorplan of only 3.95m x 4.75m it is already one of the larger specimens of its kind. The floor of the pit house is about 50cm deep underground.