• The origin of interior design since prehistoric times

The history of interior design extends back to prehistoric times.

We live in a modern and technologically advanced world, and we spend a large part of our time indoors.

We live in houses or apartments, we work in offices, stores, or factories.

We study in schools and colleges, we eat in restaurants, we stay in hotels, and we travel in cars, buses, trains, ships and airplanes.

Being outside is often a temporary stop while traveling from one interior space to another,

and humans differ from other living things in accepting inner space as the most common environment for daily life.


The origin of interior design since prehistoric times
The origin of interior design since prehistoric times


  • Prehistoric Interiors

Humans have existed on the face of the earth about 1.7 million years ago,

and the detailed record of events and developments called “history” extends to approximately six or seven thousand years only.

But before the beginning of history we only have myths to tell us about the events that happened and in what order,

and so the questions about  When and where people first learned to use the shelters,

and how the earliest shelters were, has long been the subject of much speculation.

Then information comes to us from prehistoric remains of various kinds known to archaeologists,

along with current or modern practices of “primitive” peoples usually studied by anthropologists.

Prehistoric items are physical objects and artefacts, or structures that date back to times before the beginning of the recorded history of the regions in which they are found.

The term “primitive” here refers to peoples, cultures or civilizations untouched by the modern technological world as it developed over the few thousand years for which we have a detailed history.


The origin of interior design since prehistoric times
The origin of interior design since prehistoric times


  • The first shelters

What are the first shelters?

Caves were made of materials that were easy to handle with bare hands or with very simple tools.

There is definite evidence that the ancients used caves, but it is unlikely that caves were the most used in the early places of human life.

Caves are only found in certain places and their number is limited, as they are not comfortable or attractive places to live.

These caves may be used as emergency shelters or places for rituals or special celebrations,

or they may be used in works of art that we admire because they saved them from the vagaries of the weather.

Prehistoric shelters only survived as they were made of durable materials,

massive stones were carefully placed to create interiors with a strong aesthetic effect.

Whether they were originally open to the sky or roofed with materials that have since disappeared.

The purpose appears to have been associated with rituals related to the movements of the sun, moon and stars,

and the circular shape was a feature of many ancient human constructions.


The origin of interior design since prehistoric times
The origin of interior design since prehistoric times


  • The materials used in the caves

Twigs, leaves, plants, similar plant materials, and animal materials such as leather were all short-lived and prone to rot and disappear within relatively short periods of time.

Inorganic materials such as mud or snow (in colder climates) had limited properties,

while stone, despite its durability, was so difficult to use that it had very limited possibilities for building shelter.

These facts mean that the surviving prehistoric materials are largely small stone objects such as arrowheads and spear points,

or large arrangements of stones created in patterns or grouped into structures.


The origin of interior design since prehistoric times
The origin of interior design since prehistoric times


  • Dolmens and barrows

Most speculation assumes that stone arrangements called structures and some carefully designed prehistoric European sites such as Stonehenge in Salisbury Blaine in Britain,

were used for ceremonies or rituals associated with observing astronomical movements.

Dolmens are often associated with burial rituals.

The arrangement of a large stone placed on top of two or three stones upright to form the numerous dolmens seems to have created the inner chamber of the tomb that took the form of an artificial mound,

as the earth eroded.

Stone dolmens form the kind of cemetery called Barrow in England.

It is possible to enter the interior rooms of some of these remaining tombs, and although they are dark and mysterious,

they are often impressive, even if they are only to evoke unimaginable ancient origins.

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