chapter  5
From First House to City Suburb
Pages 36

T he previous chapter offered some detail on the types of homes built by mobile peoples both past and present. Beginning roughly 12,000 years ago, some humans began to build more permanent shelters, which sometimes led to the es-

tablishment of small communities. Initially, causes of sedentism were laid at the door of the domestication of agriculture, but further archaeological work has demonstrated that many prehistoric peoples settled before they farmed, and farmed without sedentism. Answering the why of sedentism is far beyond the purview of this book. Asking where people first settled, addressed in chapter 2, might be more productive and can, in fact, sometimes partially answer the question of why as well. Perhaps the most answerable is when; archaeology has done a fairly effective job of tracking the emergence of settled communities across the world. Most pertinent to architectural questions is not the when but the how and what of first settlement. Specifically, how did becoming sedentary impact humans, what types of more permanent houses did humans first build, and what do they reveal about them?