Prehistoric Alpine Stilt Houses

Prehistoric Alpine Stilt Houses


Alpine stilt houses are dwellings built on wooden stilts, which are common in the mountainous regions of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. These houses have been around for thousands of years and have become an iconic symbol of the Alpine region. Prehistoric stilt houses were built by the Celts, who lived in these areas during the Iron Age. In this article, we will explore the history, design, construction, and modern uses of these fascinating dwellings.


Alpine stilt houses have a long and storied history in the region. The Celts first began building stilt houses in the Iron Age (800-400 BC), and the practice has continued through the centuries. The Celts used these structures as dwellings, granaries and barns, and they were often built near bodies of water to provide access to fishing and other resources.


The design of Alpine stilt houses varies from one region to another, but most of them are built in a similar style. The stilts are usually made of wood and can be as tall as three meters. The houses are often built with a steeply pitched roof to protect them from the elements. The walls are typically made of wood and covered with a waterproof layer of clay or mud.


Building an Alpine stilt house is a complex and labor-intensive process. The stilts must be carefully constructed and secured to the ground. The walls are built with wooden frames and filled with clay or mud to form a waterproof layer. The roof is then constructed and covered with a waterproof layer of clay or mud.

Modern Uses

Alpine stilt houses are still in use today, though they are much less common than they once were. They are often used as seasonal dwellings or vacation homes, and they are also popular with hunters and fishermen. In some areas, they are also used to host events and festivals.

Protection Against Floods

One of the primary advantages of Alpine stilt houses is their ability to protect against floods. The stilts elevate the house above the ground and make it more resistant to flooding. This makes them a popular choice for building in flood-prone areas.

Climate Protection

Alpine stilt houses are also well-suited to the region’s climate. The steeply pitched roof protects the house from snow, rain and wind, and the thick mud walls help to insulate the home from the cold. This makes them an ideal choice for living in the Alpine climate.

Traditional Uses

The traditional uses of Alpine stilt houses are still seen in some parts of the region. In some areas, they are still used as granaries or barns, and they are also popular with hunters and fishermen. The houses are also often used for hosting events and festivals.

Preservation Efforts

Due to their historical significance, there are efforts to preserve and restore Alpine stilt houses. In some areas, local governments have taken steps to protect these structures from demolition or decay. This includes restrictions on new construction and initiatives to restore existing structures.


Alpine stilt houses are fascinating examples of traditional architecture and a vital part of the region’s history. These dwellings have been around for thousands of years, and they have been used for everything from dwellings to granaries and barns. Today, they are still in use as seasonal dwellings, vacation homes, and for hosting events and festivals. There are also efforts to preserve and restore these structures, ensuring that they will remain a vital part of the region’s culture and history for generations to come. Prehistoric Alpine stilt houses are some of Europe’s oldest settlements, dating back around 10,000 years. These unique homes were constructed on stilts and located in the mountains and valleys of the Alps. They were built of wood and often had steeply sloping roofs.

Primarily, the structures had both practical and symbolic functions. During the Bronze Age, they allowed people to have a dwelling place near pastures, sheepfolds and forests in order to facilitate the economic and pastoral activities related to livestock. In addition, they visually represented the society’s social and economic activities by forming a physical framework within which inhabitants could exercise power and authority.

The construction of stilt houses had important social implications. They constituted a stable and permanent home-base for communities of a few people and their families. The inhabitants of Prehistoric Alpine stilt houses shared a common culture and set of beliefs and often re-built stilt houses on the same location, following an epidemic, war or other disruption.

Studies of the remains of these stilt houses have provided us with valuable information about the way of life of the people who built them. They likely used the structures as a storage space and as a place where they could prepare food and store equipment and tools. Additionally, they likely provided shelter in the summer and winter, since the structures were well insulated due to the thick wooden walls, and the warm and dry areas below the stilts remained clear of snow.

The Prehistoric Alpine stilt houses are an important part of Europe’s prehistoric cultural heritage, providing invaluable insights into the lives of the mountain dwellers who lived in them and the customs and practices of the communities that produced them. Although these structures are no longer around, their presence can still be felt in the landscape, providing an important link to the past.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *