Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines

Lewis H. Morgan
Houses and House-Life of the
American Aborigines

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Houses and House-Life of the
Aborigines, by Lewis H. Morgan Copyright laws are changing all over
the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before
downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg
This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project
Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the
header without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the
eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how
the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make a
donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of
Title: Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines
Author: Lewis H. Morgan
Release Date: May, 2005 [EBook #8112] [Yes, we are more than one
year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on June 15, 2003]

Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Robert Prince, Charles Franks and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team.



The following work substantially formed the Fifth Part of the original
manuscript of "Ancient Society," under the title "Growth of the Idea of
House Architecture." As the manuscript exceeded the limits of a single
volume, this portion (Part V) was removed, and having then no
intention to publish it separately, the greater part of it found its way
into print in detached articles. A summary was given to Johnson's New
Universal Cyclopedia in the article on the "Architecture of the
American Aborigines." The chapter on the "Houses of the Aztecs"
formed the basis of the article entitled "Montezuma's Dinner,"
published in the North American Review, in April, 1876. Another
chapter, that on the "Houses of the Mound Builders," was published in
the same Review in July, 1876. Finally, the present year, at the request
of the executive committee of the "Archaeological Institute of
America," at Cambridge, I prepared from the same materials an article
entitled "A Study of the Houses and House Life of the Indian Tribes,"
with a scheme for the exploration of the ruins in New Mexico, Arizona,

the San Juan region, Yucatan, and Central America.
With some additions and reductions the facts are now presented in their
original form, and as they will now have a wider distribution than the
articles named have had, they will be new to most of my readers. The
facts and suggestions made will also have the advantage of being
presented in their proper connection. Thus additional strength is given
to the argument as a whole. All the forms of this architecture sprang
from a common mind, and exhibit, as a consequence, different stages of
development of the same conceptions, operating upon similar
necessities. They also represent these several conditions of Indian life
with reasonable completeness. Their houses will be seen to form one
system of works, from the Long House of the Iroquois to the Joint
Tenement houses of adobe and of stone in New Mexico, Yucatan,
Chiapas, and Guatemala, with such diversities as the different degrees
of advancement of these several tribes would naturally produce.
Studied as one system, springing from a common experience, and
similar wants, and under institutions of the same general character, they
are seen to indicate a plan of life at once novel, original, and
The principal fact, which all these structures alike show, from the
smallest to the greatest, is that the family through these stages of
progress was too weak an organization to face alone the struggle of life,
and sought a shelter for itself in large households composed of several
families. The house for a single family was exceptional throughout
aboriginal America, while the house large enough to accommodate
several families was the rule. Moreover, they were occupied as joint
tenement houses. There was also a tendency to form these households
on the principle of gentile kin, the mothers with their children being of
the same gens or clan.
If we enter upon the great problem of Indian life with a determination
to make it intelligible, their house life and domestic institutions must
furnish the key to its explanation. These pages are designed as a
commencement of that work. It is a fruitful, and, at present, but
partially explored field. We have been singularly
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 146
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.