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Quiggly Holes

Learning about ancient cultures can be a fascinating experience. It is always amazing to see how people used to live in different parts of the world. While there are many interesting parts of their culture to learn about, discovering the type of homes they lived in not only gives clues about what they were like, but what lessons can be taken from them and applied to life today.

Quiggly Holes

The First Nations, the native people of British Columbia, are an interesting group of individuals to learn about. This particular people group lived in homes known as quiggly holes (or kekuli). A quiggly hole, or quiggly for short, is what's known as an "earth lodge."

Under Where?

The term "quiggly" means "under", which gives us a clue about where these kind of homes were located. When you spot a quiggly, it appears as a depression in the ground that is circular in shape. Most of these homes were built in small communities known as "quiggly towns."

The size of these towns or villages number from a few hundred to possibly thousands. Many of the holes were located in areas that were close to water and game, which the people needed for food. Some of the houses were designed for a single person or family, while others were designed to house larger groups and families. There are so many of these holes in certain parts of British Columbia that they have become a part of the local landscape.

Root of the Issue

The idea of the quiggly hole comes from the root cellar. There were many different uses for this type of construction besides housing. Some individuals used the holes for storing extra supplies, while some used them as makeshift kitchens. The design for these homes was relatively simple.

Quiggly Hole

When someone needed to make one of these holes, they would dig a very deep pit in the ground, and then create a roof constructed from logs. The roof was dome shaped. They usually contained a fire hole to allow the smoke from a fire to escape out into the air. Most often, people of the First Nations would enter and exit the hole via a ladder, or they would create a second doorway out the side of the dwelling.

When most people refer to quiggly holes, it is in reference to those that have long since been abandoned, rather than active housing units today. This is a popular reference for stories being told, or archaeologists who are speaking of events from the past. There are some First Nation communities that still use these types of homes, but have improved on their design.

Just Say No

If you desire to see what these historic homes looked like, then you might want to consider visiting the Fort Chilcotin site, which is full of quiggly holes. A small number of individuals go there to dig for arrowheads, which is frowned upon, as it could destroy the historical artifacts and records that exist in the area.

Otherwise, Feeling Quiggly yet?

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By the way, in the United States the quiggly holes are called earth lodges