The vapor barrier should be installed correctly with tape to the walls to prevent further moisture vapor and moisture coming up through the floor assembly. These dirt floors usually smelled musty and created dry rot on some of the structural members in the basement.
Digging out a basement, one should be careful not to undermine the bearing components that hold up the structure.
Usually, if kept outside of the triangle of compression, it should not be a problem.
They don’t, the walls were usually tapered. They went from 12" at the top to about 2’ at the bottom. The inside kept plumb.
some times the top 2’ portion was brick or granite.
The one in your picture appears to be all brick and most likely setting on stone for a footing.
I know what your talking about i had a granite foundation up home thatt sucker was more than 2 feet at the bottom. These down here seem to be Pillar with a row a fill in brick Marcel .Some you could likely put your fist through it .
Recommend two inches of sand on top of plastic all around the perimeter to help seal floor dampness from entering the home .
Tape shut any holes in the plastic also .
Also add a Dehumidifer with a drain to help keep humidity below 50% .
Its been here for 100~ years and with continuing maintenance it should last many mote years .
We have done many of these old homes and they are great . Two we have done sold for over a million Dollars dirt floor and all.
lol…i just moved. Holy crap I had canned food that expired in 2008 in there! Not to mention the vitamins that I always meant to take that expired in 2009. Glad I dont have a basement, but I do have a shop for the work vehicles…and that is a little collection area of its own.