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Two thatch-roofed houses elevated on wood columns at Mai Chau

These thatch-roofed houses are built on wood columns to protect them from wet ground, wild animals, and human intruders. (Photograph by Margery H. Freeman. More about the photograph)

Two thatch-roofed houses elevated on wood columns at Mai Chau provide excellent examples of highland village house construction. In the rear of the photograph, a person works in the shade under the house.

Hand-hewn wooden walls, columns, shutter doors, and entrance ladders indicate that this is an older and fairly permanent village center where such labor and materials will be expended.

Traditionally, most Southeast Asian houses were elevated to provide a measure of protection from wet ground, wild animals, or human intruders. In some areas, livestock and tools are stored under the house.