Cave Dwellers

People have always lived in caves. Where there is a cave that people can live in to protect themselves from the weather and other elements they do. Caves have been found with evidence of habitation from all around the world including in China, through India, Asia Minor, Arabia, the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, west indies, Mexico, Australia, and the Americas. Caves were used for hiding, living, storing foods and other products, as burial and sacred places and for paintings their histories. Caves are still used to live in around the world today. In some countries they transform caves into grand houses, underground chambers and live in them to protect themselves from the weather, to save money and because they have no other alternative!

Scientists have found evidence of our hominid ancestors and direct ancestors living in caves for millions of millions of years. The Neanderthals sheltered in caves. Caves were the focus for researchers because they preserve better than other sites, such as open-air campgrounds where the weather impacts them including the fire pits.

The wonderwerk cave in the Kalahari Desert shows us evidence of human occupation for over two million years and their culture, and rituals. The researchers have found evidence of oldowan stone tools and rock art in these caves. In Israel there are about 40 historical caves that have been investigated dating between 500,000 and 50,000ka (Ullman, Hovers, Goren-Inbar, Frumkin 2013). The Carmel caves in Israel, specifically the Tabun cave, shows evidence of occupation from half a million to 40,000 years ago. In the Tabun cave the researchers found that the individuals living in the cave used handaxes of flint or limestone for killing animals and for digging up roots and other food sources. They had a diet of gazelle, fallow deer, row deer, boar and fruit, seeds, and roots.

In France and other parts of Europe our ancestors lived in caves and painted their art on the cave walls. The Chauvet cave is one grand cave displaying amazing art including the gallery of the lions. The art shows lionesses chasing herbivores including extinct aurochs and bison. We get to see the animals that roamed during the ice age that are now extinct. Before the Aurignacians, peoples who painted the caves, began painting on the walls, the cave bears lived in the caves. It brings us back to the story clan of the cave bear!



In the Americas we have evidence that they lived in caves. In the Madera cave in Chihuahua western sierra Madre-Paquime they lived in clay structures inside the caves between AD 1060 and 1450. These structures are two and three story, and they have also had communal granaries. The world monument fund explains the layout of the

buildings, culture and how it’s listed for its history.

Current Cave Dwellers

People today also build their homes down underground and in caves to keep cool in summer and warm in winter. In China, Sanmenxia city, Henan province people live in Yaodongs underground. They also had their courtyards beneath the ground level. In Australia, the opal mining town of Cooper Pedy built most of their buildings and homes underground to escape the extreme weather and to keep cool. In Matmata, Tunisia the Berbers also live in underground homes to avoid the heat and winds. The cave dwellers of Jamrud in the Khyber district in northwest Pakistan also live in caves. They have lived in the caves for many generations, have no power and make a living from selling their eggs and milk from the hens and goats.

What people live in caves? Why do people live in caves? Would you go and build your home in a cave?


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