The concept of staying in a house or to have a dwelling is as old as the beginning of the human civilization. When the early man understood that he is not safe out in the open with fierce and wild animals he felt the need of having a complete shelter, especially at night. Earlier, the Neanderthal man lived in caves. Cro-Magnon people were one of the earliest known types of human beings. They too lived in caves, but made splendid prehistoric cave paintings in France and Spain. Around 10,000 BC almost all the stone-age hunters have settled in groups forming town-like structures.
They used mud brick houses and surrounded them with a huge stone wall. With the passage of time, man became more civilized and showed his intellect in making different kinds of dwellings, with an artistic touch at times. The invention of different tools led the way to make better houses.
The need of a shelter was perhaps felt when there were no caves or trees on which the early man could hide himself or take refuge. He took pile of stones and made shelter out of it. With time he also learned to dry clay in the sun and make it hard and then pile one upon the other. Before 400 BC people staying close to a lake used to pin down logs on the floor of the lake and build platforms and then house-like structures on it. Below are some of the oldest and ancient houses built in the early days of civilization.
1. Earthlodge: Mostly subterranean it was shallow made on the ground with daub and wattle, covered over with sod. It was used by the Americans and Middle Missouri traditions before.
2. Kiva: Puebloan people in the southwest generally used this for get together and feasting and other ritualistic purpose. Many kivas have sipapu, or a small hole in the floor. The main features are a pillar to support the roof, small window like structures for letting in fresh air and a central fireplace.
3. Hill Forts: The first of these belong to the Neolithic age. In the late bronze age of 1100-1300 BC these appeared more when there were more discriminations among different classes of society and people used to settle in small groups forming their own communities.
4. Gressbaken House: Another form of building in the younger stone age, i.e., from 5000-1800 BC. People living in these structures were mainly those who lived on hunting sea animals and birds.
5. Oppida: This name for this particular structure was given by Julius Caesar. It was made during the iron age and in the beginning of the era when Rome was reaching its peak in everything among others.These were protective structures with ramparts and enclosures.
6. Tipi (Teepee): Originally called teepee, these were made of the hides of buffaloes and other animals and were conical structures used by hunters who used to wander.
7. Mammoth Bone Dwellings: Found in good numbers in Russia in the Dneiper valley and Ukraine some 15000 years ago. These were made of bones and skins of mammoth, a giant hairy animal, ancient elephants with tusks which became extinct in the end of the Pleistocene.
8. Pit House: Made in such a manner that these were warm during the winters and cool during the summers.
9. Cliff Dwellings: These were place for dwelling built on the cliffs of mountains in Colorado, US.
10. Desert Castles: Built by the followers of Islam in places like Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.