Constructive Evidence for the Concept of a Smoke-Free Heated Living Room between the Alps and Southern Scandinavia
The "stube" (Danish "stue"), here defined as a smokefree heated living room, is the most important room in the central European house. North to the Alps, being exposed to maritime or even continental climate condition, it was impossible to live without heating from late autumn until spring. Since prehistoric times, open fireplaces provided warmth, light and energy for preparing meals. In central Europe, two new methods of smokeless heating had been developed: the complex subfloor convection air heating and the tiled stove. The first one is usually interpreted as reduced form of antic Roman hypocaust heating, which survived in monastic context. Since the 10th century, archaeological sources allow to describe its spread into profane context: firstly, it was used as heating for large rooms on castles, in the late Middle Ages, also in town halls. The tiled stove is not as powerful as the convection air heating, but it is very efficient as heating for smaller rooms. Its origin is unknown; probably, it was an innovation of older ovens, which were common as technical or simply baking equipment. In central Europe, the oldest known types of heating ovens were already used in the early period of North Western Slavic settlement since the 7th century. The history of tile stoves is closely connected to the development of the apartment on castles and its succession into urban or rural dwellings. Archaeological sources show the migration of this living concept from the Alpine zone to the North in the period between the 10th and 16th century. Moreover, regarding their decoration and their number in a house, tile stoves are excellent social indicators within a settlement.
Nuts & Bolts of Construction History: Culture, Technology and Society, 2012, p. 269-276
Constructive History; Building Archaeology; Tile Stoves; Pottery