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Prehistoric Architecture – The Stone Age

Stone Age is the Earliest human settlements. Early human beings, hominid ancestors learned many thigs slowly and gradually such as control fire, recognize social links, maintain a bond with the remains of the dead, to engage in a symbolic thought, and to fashion symbolic images and objects.

Earliest Human Settlements of Stone Age

  • Started 2.5 million years ago.
  • Period – Lasted 3.4 million years, ended between 4,000 BCE and 2,000 BCE (from Wikipedia)
  • Main source of survival – Hunting Animals and gathering fruits and grains.
    • Food source – Wild animals and plants
  • Settlements – Semi-permanent homes (like base camp),huts
  • Tools – Stone tools, wood, bones, shells
    • The evidence of using stone tools was found from the animal bones with tool marks.
  • Artefacts – Stone-made artefacts, skull portraits,
  • Arts – Paintings, colors were made from pigments of powdered minerals – iron oxide or ocher, charcoal, clays, animal fats, vegetable dyes. Paintings were with scenes of hunting wild animals, cattle grazing in fields, etc. They were made on walls and rocks.
  • Fabrics used – wool and cotton
  • Materials used – stones, timber, animal skins, bone, clay. clay was used to make pottery.
  • Hunting creatures – Mammoths(ten-foot tall hairy elephants)
  • Advancements
    • Adaptation to climate
    • Crop cultivation
    • Cooking
    • Tool making traditions were more perfected, new-point flaking technologies succeeded.
    • Settlements grew
    • Religion.
  • Habitats
    • Mud huts /Small Huts -Mixed mud with water and materials like reed, straw were used as binders.
    • Large Huts – Include multiple hearths inside and openings in the top.
    • Simple arrangement of stones to hold branches of trees in position.
    • Stone structures with timber roofs.
    • Bones into a dome, the gaps between bones were filled with moss and shrubs and covering the whole structure with turf or mammoth hide.
  • Melting and smelting of copper marks the end of stone age and beginning of bronze age.
  • Successive periods – Bronze age and Iron age

The stone is divided into three periods

  • Paleolithic or old stone age
  • Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age
  • Neolithic or New stone age

Architecture and Dwellings

Earliest constructions were fashion from organic materials and new discoveries were happening continuously. The shapes of the houses were round, domes, and conical with internal wood frames and built with organic materials. Organic materials include branches, brushes, and hides. They were braced at bottom with mammoth bones.

Terra Amata

  • It represents earliest of homo erectus dwelling.
  • Reconstructed from holes left by decayed wooden structural members and rocks places around the perimeter.

Cro – Magnon dwelling

It represents Cro – Magnon dwelling.

Stone Henge – Predominant in Stone Age

Architecture and building types include

  • Cliff dwellings
  • Thatch and mud structures
  • Free standing stone monuments
stone age
Image source – Wikipedia

Stone age is known for the use of huge rocks – Megaliths. These Megaliths are predominantly found in Stone Henges. Henges were made of wood or stone circles .Henges, simply circles of stone or wood usually in a circular ditch, are quite common in the Stone Age and seem to have had some kind of religious or astronomical significance.(from

Image source – Getty images : Aerial photo of Stonehenge on a sunny day.

These were used to mark sacred spaces but the exact purpose is still unknown.

Three different types of these massive stone structures :
Menhir, dolmen, and cromlech.

It consists of a series of concentric circles and U-shapes. Sandstone blocks were erected in a layout that aligned with midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset and the positions of the moon. The outer circle is post and lintel construction with stone blocks of thirteen feet high. The lintels were slightly curved creating a circle and are attached end to end. The inner circles are single upright bluestones.

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