Many animals are known to create a home – a den, burrow, nest or web – using survival instincts codified many millions of years ago. But the human animal’s nesting instinct has been evolving since the days of the hominids, and continues to reinvent itself today.
The early campfire sites of nomadic hunter-gatherers gave way to houses designed for protection from the elements as humans expanded to higher latitudes. The shift to agricultural societies led to the need to homestead, and its attendant accumulation of goods and supplies that couldn’t be easily transported.
As tribes began to settle down, the home became more sophisticated. Art and symbolism moved from cave walls to interior and exterior decoration. Communities sprang up as people organized their living spaces into pueblos, villages, walled cities.
All of these trends are echoed in the variety of form and function employed in modern dwellings. In his new book, anthropologist Jerry Moore follows the thread of human habitation and its variations from ancient times to the present, and explores the many meanings of the word “home.”
Jerry D. Moore, Ph.D., author of “The Prehistory of Home” (University of California Press); professor, department of anthropology at California State University Dominguez Hills