So you know all those friendly villages you find on islands when you first get your galleys going? They're nice and all, but at that point their rewards don't seem to be so wonderful. Yeah, 25 gp here, a caravan there. By that time, I'm usually getting that much gold in a couple of turns anyway. And if it's a free technology, not such a big deal. I would have gotten Masonry or some such in a couple of turns anyway. So I started stashing my little militia guys there next to them and not going in yet. I wait as long as possible to get them, of course while making sure that some other civ doesn't get them. When I'm ready for a quick tech rush, I make sure there aren't any overlooked dinky techs that I haven't reasearched, and then I start grabbing the huts. Usually at least one of them will be a tech, and give me invention, combustion, whatever. Sometimes i'll get 2-3 techs and really jump past the other civs. I found it pretty useful to save them up. You just have to make sure other civs aren't within enough squares with their boats to come steal them from you.