Could people with Iron Age technology possibly dig large holes in volcanic rock on the edges of a lave tube system. Would this be an effective way to run a trade business or to live in an underground home. I know that Kazumura, the world's longest mapped lava tube, which stretches more than 40 miles and in places is the size of a subway tunnel, so size definitely isn’t a problem. The volcano would be extinct so there are no dangers regarding an eruption.

[Kazumura lava tube system] -https://youtu.be/8OYuWLVb1xI

i.e. : Would this be efficient, would this be possible, & has anything like it eve been done?

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    $\begingroup$ So just to be clear, are you talking about digging out these extinct volcanic lava tubes to put a marketplace in them, or are you talking about having enough of them around that you could sell them in a marketplace, like real estate? $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    Feb 4, 2020 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ As an Iron-Age merchant specializing in torches, I think this is a fabulous idea. The dim, flickering light and smoke from my torches makes it difficult for my customers to discern quality, so I can sell inferior wares at full price. Folks who sleep in the smoke will have shorter lifespans, so I have a sideline in snake-oil treatment for chronic bronchitis. The only drawback is that when I must hike all the way out to relieve myself outside several times each day, other folks steal my unattended wares. That, and the (smoky) food and drink seems rather expensive, since it must all be hauled in. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 5, 2020 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ A problem with lava tubes, at least in temperate climates, is that they can be cold enough to have ice in them all year. So you might want to use yours just for cold storage. E.g. visitsouthidaho.com/adventure/shoshone-indian-ice-caves $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 5, 2020 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


Yes and No

Yes you could but a marketplace needs to be near people or on a trade route. You need some kind of reason why building it in a lava tube is a good idea and not just a bunch of buildings like elsewhere.

If the market was on top and the lava tube was the cellar from hell, I could see why.

That said, a lava tube is just another cave and lots of things have been built in caves. You need to look at pros and cons of using a cave complex. You need to look at water, sewage, air, light and cooking.

Building outside is easy. Caves can be more complex.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answers, and btw it would be used for trafficking and selling illegal goods. $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2020 at 5:11

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