The earliest farmers in central and western Europe brought the Neolithic long house form circa 5000 BCE, or 7,000 years ago. These were farming villages that were established in groups of six to twelve individuals and housed huge extended families and relatives. The men would work the land while the women would take care of the children and the home.
As time went on, these early farmers began to build larger and more complex houses for themselves. By 3000 BCE large towns had developed with populations of thousands of people living under one roof. These were not isolated communities but parts of a larger society; some evidence suggests they may even have been governed by kings or chiefs. People traded with each other, fought wars against others who lived near them, and created amazing works of art.
The early European farmers used wood, stones, and clay to build their homes. They cut down trees, chopped up the wood into thin strips, and used it as scaffolding to build the walls of their houses.
Inside the houses they used rocks, bones, shells, and even animal teeth to create furniture. There were no tools made out of metal so all cutting, scraping, and digging tools had to be made from natural materials such as stone, bone, or wood.
People started using mud instead of dirt to pack around the edges of their buildings around 4000 BCE.
People began the Neolithic period at various dates in different areas, therefore people began to build dwellings in Sudan, Egypt, and West Asia around 10,000 BC, and in Greece around 6000 BC. People in England did not begin to build dwellings until around 3000 BC. People in Africa started building larger more complex structures around 500 BC.
The first buildings were made from stones that people carried from far away. As they learned how to work with tools other materials were used such as wood for frames and plaster for walls. By about 300 BC builders had developed techniques for making bricks which are easy to get hold of and relatively durable. They also learned how to make concrete which is a mixture of sand, gravel, water, and cement. This is still used today for paving streets and buildings etc.
People began to build larger and better designed houses around 5000 BC, and by 4000 BC large cities were being built with wide streets and squares. Cities such as Memphis, Cairo, and Babylon had populations of 100,000 or more. By 3000 BC most countries in Europe were being visited by people who came from outside their borders - mainly from France or Spain. These visitors called themselves "Aryans" because they thought that they were the descendants of Aryavarta (now India) who was one of the original twelve tribes of Israel.
People began to write down information on paper around 600 BC.
Who constructed the first houses? Early people erected temporary shelters, while early farmers in the Middle East built the first permanent dwellings some 11,000 years ago. People utilized river stones to create some of the oldest dwellings around that period at Zawi Chemi Shanidar in the Zagros Mountains. These stones are very well preserved because there was no need for heat or air conditioning in those days.
The earliest true houses were built by the First Americans, who came from Asia over a million years ago. They used branches and leaves with animal skins to make tents, which they then covered with earth or sticks until they were ready to use again. After about 10,000 years of development, the first crude boxes made of wood and clay or stone appeared on the scene. These early homes had only one room but they were beginning to show signs of design sophistication.
The next major advancement in housing occurred when people began to build houses out of wood. These early homes were only able to keep out the coldest temperatures because they were only made of wood. If it rained or snowed too much, these structures would be destroyed. About 5500 B.C., people started using mud bricks to build more substantial homes. The walls of these buildings were often up to two feet thick and included fire-resistant materials such as lime to prevent house fires. The floors of these homes were usually made of wood or dirt.
A typical longhouse was around 80 by 18 by 18 feet (24.4 by 5.5 by 5.5 m) in size and was designed to house up to twenty or more families, the majority of whom were matrilineally connected. Property and inheritance were handed down through the maternal line under the people's matrilineal kinship structure. Women had equal status with men before the law.
Long houses were built in large communities with many relatives living together. The primary material for the house was wood, which was usually pine but sometimes maple or oak. The house had a central square area called the longhouse floor that was used for cooking and socializing. There were three interior walls made of wooden boards covered in clay or mud and one exterior wall made of logs or stone. The longhouse had no floors inside the walls; instead there were platforms for sleeping mats. A fire was always kept burning in the center of the room to heat the house and cook food.
The first long houses were probably simple shelters built by early hunters who lived with their families in one location. As we know from archaeological evidence, these early settlers spent most of their time hunting and gathering food, so they needed shelters that were easy to build and maintain. Over time, these first hunters incorporated some features from other types of dwellings (such as caves) into their long houses until they reached what is today's world pattern of male-headed households with married women and children living together.