Three Thousand Years of Log Cabins

scandinavian cabin photo
Photo by Mini D

So you know that Abe Lincoln grew up in a log cabin. But did you know that the history of the log cabin goes back almost as far as western civilization?

It’s true! Since there have been people living in and around tall trees, people have been chopping them down and using them to build homes. If you’re looking in the West, some of the earliest evidence for log cabins comes from the Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio. As the logical-minded Romans were known to do, Mr. Pollio was known to catalogue all of the different buildings he saw. In his seminal work, De Architectura, Mr. Pollio spoke of the inhabitants of what we would call Northern Turkey as building homes out of felled logs laid horizontally, with the gaps filled by mud and chinking. This sounds an awful lot like a log cabin to us!

There’s nothing quite like a log cabin– as history shows!

Of course, the Romans weren’t the only ones to notice the value of a good set of horizontally-laid logs. As far back as the early Bronze age, archaeologists have found evidence of log cabin structures in Eastern and Northern Europe– some as old as 3500 BC (for the record, that’s just about as old as a few of the Egyptian pyramids!)

The most surprising part of these finds is how similar the construction techniques of these ancient buildings were to our modern log cabins. Archaeologists observed corner timbering and double-notched joints in even the oldest examples. As time wore on, people used more and more advanced techniques to keep their cabins insulated and air-tight– techniques still used today in many Scandinavian countries!

Europe isn’t the only place to find ancient log cabins

Europe wasn’t the only place to find people using logs to build cabins. Anywhere you have a good growth of tall, straight timber–conifer forests, or a good source of pine–you find a strong tradition of log buildings. Before Europeans came to America, the Native American nations were building large, complex log buildings to rival the size and technological advancement of even the biggest European log buildings! Log cabins are certainly one of the most universal human advancements.

Log cabins are one of the longest standing construction traditions, with history, pedigree, and staying power. Make sure your cabin sticks around as long as the ones built by the ancient Swedes with our steel log siding! Tru Log’s steel log siding is a great way to make sure your cabin stands the test of time, so you can enjoy it as much as your grandchildren will (and their children, too!)

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