The climate is very similar to siberia, there are boreal forests, steppes and tundra in the north. The winters are rough but there is a short growing season, fishing is possible.

I am mostly interested about medieval/renaissance technological level and below.

What are the adaptation imposed by the environment ?

Specifically about :

  • housing/shelter (example : the roof of buildings being steeper to let snow slide, what kind of other adaptations would rise ?)

  • food (examples : there is a small growing season but what kind of crop would be suitable ? the weather allow some farming but is it better than nomad herding ?)

  • Type of settlement (example : is it better to live in communal buildings or to have houses far apart from each other ? how densely populated are the settlements ?)

Some ideas I'm unsure about but may help to answer:

  • Would half buried houses help against temperature variations ?
  • Is offering shelter to travelers worthwhile ? Is being on a trade route enough to make it worthwhile ?

Optional question as it might make the question too broad

  • General behavior of the people (example : wary of strangers or hospitable ?)
  • $\begingroup$ Looking att the natives of the region living in tents hearding raindeer seems a workable solution. $\endgroup$ – lijat Sep 13 '17 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @lijat it is a workable solution and a good answer if detailed but it's probably not the only one and that's what makes it interesting $\endgroup$ – Armind Sep 13 '17 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think you'd just have to research Siberia specifically because a question like this is too broad but then answers you want can all be found if you read a book on people who live in Siberia. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Sep 13 '17 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ @A.C.A.C. So basically re-do my research and then ask more focused question if there is still things i don't understand ? $\endgroup$ – Armind Sep 13 '17 at 19:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP - southernwest Siberia has no permafrost, and soil is Ok. Summers are good, but winters are long and harsh, that makes a difference between Siberia and places like Belarus. For example, orchards are just not viable there. My parents and I once started a little cherry orchard on our dacha. It was beautiful for a few years, until one winter when all cherry trees had died because of the cold. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Sep 13 '17 at 23:01

It depends.

Siberia is really big. In southern Siberia, climate is relatively mild, and Russian settlers have been colonizing the region for several centuries. Yes, you do have steep-sloped roofs, and houses had to be better built and better insulated. For crops, you would prefer cold-resistant cultures, for example, rye over wheat. If you keep livestock, you will be very busy during the short summer stockpiling hay. In the winter, animals are typically kept indoors, in the past, peasants would even bring all of them into the house when it was too cold in the barn.

Unless you have an independent streak, you wouldn't build a standalone farm in Siberia. Environment is harsh, and it would be nice to have neighbors who can help. People are generally hospitable to travelers. Even in southern Siberia, you can easily freeze to death without shelter.

Northern Siberia is different. You can not really keep agriculture there. That region has been the domain of hunting and fishing, and in tundra - reindeer herding (down south, it is not possible to do any herding in boreal forests). There also used to be no roads there. So the only reliable method of transportation was boat. Every settlement was built on a river, and large fraction of supplies had to be brought in from mainland when the season allows it.

P.S. Pithouses (half-buried houses) offer somewhat better protection from cold. However, during long winters (and I'm not even talking about permafrost issue) ground would freeze through to a considerable depth. Also, the nemesis of all pithouses is water drainage problem. So, like everywhere else in Russia, pithouse was a cheap and quick alternative to a real house, and as soon as circumstances allowed it, people moved from pithouse to a real house.


(I'm expecting you want a wealthy community here, not barely staying alive. For the latter just have a look at the history of Siberia.)

The question is quite broad, but a few ideas:

Building below the ground is surely a good idea, if your people have invented chimneys and a somewhat clever ventilation system so the place stays dry and healthy.

A largish village or town is certainly advisable, because without specialised professions, you spend a lot of time doing elementary things in an inefficient manner. Also helps with trading, which is good for the same reasons.

Farming, certainly. You probably need a well supported network of smaller villages around your larger settlement to have a large enough area. Nomad herding (or hunting) is only viable if you can trade the prouducts very well.

Wheat doesn't grow well in northern Europe, but the "Siberian" region you think about is probably more southern, and dryer. Anyway rye is the more robust alternative, and makes for better tasting bread anyway.


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