Oh, dream home! A cottage, usually with a colourful Aattfc h of garden and perhaps some roses climbing

`over the porch, presents a snug little residence. The word “cottage” seems to require no further explanation, for it evokes potent images of a rustic idyll, a hobbit-like retreat far away from the stresses of modern life. But these are nostalgic values that we have invested in the word cottage, of which the primary meaning, according to

the is no more than “a small modest dwelling of the kind for long occupied by poorer country people.” Originally, the cottage was indeed a world removed from present notions of quaintness. It was by any standards primitive affair, not much better than the temporary shelters erected by the hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic era.

12.Mesolithic Peoples

This wigwam-style structure, an example of which may be seen at the Ulster History Park in County Tyrone along- side its grander Neolithic successor, may be hailed as the prehistoric ancestor of the typical one-room cottage of the Middle Ages, when anyone had the right to build on common land if he could raise a roof and light a fire between sunset and sunrise, more here.

Neolithic period of fairly sophisticated dwellings which were built at Skara Brae on Orkney some 5,000 years ago. These cell-like cottages, clustered together for maximum protection, were fitted out with stone shelves and cleverly arranged storage facilities. Their box-like beds were the only semi-private spaces in what must have been intensely communal homes.

The reason why Skara Brae remains such a magnificent freeze-frame picture of Neolithic domesticity is both dramatic and poignant: at some time around 250 BC a hurricane buried the settlement with such speed that the inhabitants had barely enough time to evacuate their homes. The beads from a woman’s necklace, scattered at random, tell of a desperate rush to safety.

12. Orkney Isles

At Knap of Howar on Papa Westray, one of the outlying Orkney islands, there awaits the unique sight of what is undoubtedly the earliest pair of semi-detached cottages in Britain — dated by the archaeologists to around 3500 BC! Although these Orcadian dwellings are now roofless, it is still possible to imagine the cosy domesticity they once afforded their Neolithic inhabitants.

Until quite recently, the more remote districts of northern Scotland had wit-nessed a very slow evolution in housing. The Black House at Arnol on the Isle of Lewis shows how the simple croft without windows or chimney remained in occupation even at the beginning of the 20th century. The animals were lodged in a byre under the same roof, which was a rough thatch of heather weighed down by stones. If you plan to visit historical sities of Europe and you are searching the best hotels and best prices check this hotel price comparison website.

But in the same breath, as if recoiling om the reality, Victoria continued gaily: `They are very picturesque and embedded n trees, with the heathery and grassy hills sing above them.”

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