The Elements of Evolution (80) Settlement


The transition from mobile Paleolithic to sedentary Neolithic life ways may be the most significant behavioral “revolution” in human prehistory. When hunter-gatherers domesticated plants and animals and congregated in larger settlements, they were laying the foundations for the development of complex urban societies and our modern world system. ~ American anthropologist Richard Yerkes

As with other animals, humans first settled in places of natural abundance. Prosperous hunting and gathering begat a growing population.

Hominids had doubtlessly been residing in natural shelters, such as caves, since their emergence. When the first hominin homes were constructed remains controversial. The earliest dwellings would have been made mostly of wood, thereby decaying without much of a trace. Evidence indicates that some homebody Homo erectus lived in stone huts in northeast Africa 400,000 years ago. Many populations established sedentary communities before the advent of agriculture. Semi-permanent dwellings have been found that are 35,000 years old.