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Grubenhaus

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A Grubenhaus (pl. Grubenhäuser compounded from the German Gruben [pit or cavity] haus [house]) is a type of sunken floored building built in many parts of northern Europe between the 5th and 7th centuries AD. In the UK, they are sometimes also known as 'grubhuts' or 'grubhouses'.

Archaeological evidence indicates they were built in a shallow sub-rectangular pit around 250mm deep and measuring around 2m by 1.5m. Within this pit were placed two substantial wooden posts in postholes at either end of the long axis. It is likely that a suspended wooden floor lay over the pit and that the cavity beneath was used for storage or to control damp although other interpretations consider that grubenhauser did not have suspended floors at all. A gabled roof supported by the timber posts covered the hut which likely had no windows and had a single entrance at one end.

Grubenhäuser are usually interpreted as domestic dwellings although their small size and that they can be found near to other buildings and associated finds of loom weights has led to theories that they had a specialised purpose such as weaving sheds.

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