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Andrei 04-16-2020 10:49 PM

Historical Siberian Yurt

In "Travels in Kamchatka, during the years 1787 and 1788" by J.-B.B. Lesseps you can find the following description of Tungus (modern Evenki in NE Siberia) yurt:
"The winter yourts are round, and built upon the ground like the summer ones. The walls are constructed of large beams, placed perpendicularly, and the covering is inclined like the roofs among us, with a hole in the top for the evaporation of the smoke. They have a door, the bottom of which is upon a level with the foundation. Some of them have within a kind of corridor, which breaks the column of air, so that the smoke issues more freely."

My question is re. the last sentence:
How does it really look? How does it work? What is that "corridor" and how does it "break the column of air"? Any ideas?
Note: there is NO stove in this kind of yurt, the fire is on the ground.

Bob Rowlands 04-16-2020 11:47 PM

Re: Hystorical Siberian Yurt
Beats me. My guess is that the yurt being referred to isn't portable. I guessing they had little to do with the Mongolian yurts we are familiar with.

Andrei 04-17-2020 01:31 AM

Re: Hystorical Siberian Yurt
Yes, it is permanent wooden winter yurt. But maybe somebody can just understand/guess what the author meant or how it works. The main principles of ventilation are common for Mongolian and what ever yurts...

Bob Rowlands 04-17-2020 08:33 AM

Re: Hystorical Siberian Yurt
I won't be able to speculate on your 'yurt' description since I have never read about them nor seen a drawing of such.

Off topic comments. A central fire or fires on floor was used in viking longhouse, a large communal dwelling that housed lots of people. How well they drafted beats me. Shape of building was rectangular not round.

The longhouses I have seen in PBS videos are recreations, timber works covered with earth to six feet thick. Little air entered through cracks if the doors were shut. I believe the narrator said they were probably very smoky inside. I don't remeber any details about air corridors.

I have personally seen Anasazi kivas in the cliff dwellings in Colorado. They were round pit dwellings dug into the earth or built up with stones, with a roof of wood beams. I believe they were used for spiritual purposes, and smoke had a spiritual connotation to them. The sole entry was a hole in the roof. That is also were the smoke would have exited if a fire was burning inside, so they were likely very smoky. I can't recall any air supply hole for the fire.

As for inhabitants, people built what they could with what they had. One thing for sure, smoke was a constant in their lives since they cooked and heated with wood. How well a dwelling drafted might not have been as important as it is to us internet experts. lol

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