The truth about cavemen

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I always guessed that people associated them with caves because its where their artifacts were preserved, and assumed it was obvious that early man didn’t live mostly in caves, like bats.

Also, FWIW, fixed-abode living came about because of the necessities of agricultural society, which don’t apply any more for most people.


It’s one of those biases that are hard to shake even if you realize it on an academic level. Like how we mostly think of ancient Egyptian culture in terms of mummies and tombs and monuments, even though logic tells us that mummification and pyramid-building weren’t a major part of daily life for most Egyptians.


And where are all these habitable caves that everyone was supposed to be living in? I realize we’ve done some terraforming since then, but a quick survey around even pristine areas reveals a marked lack of caves.


I don’t understand. Are you asserting that caves don’t exist? Because I’ve explored a few and I’m quite sure they were real.

Personally, I always figured the really famous caves were more like cathedrals than homes. Nobody lives in a cathedral, except maybe Quasimodo.

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this jibes with what they taught us about Lascaux in art history. those cave paintings were part of an elaborate ritual of some kind where entering the cave was specifically done to paint–something like a vision quest IIRC. this was not decorating the living room.

also, unrelated but noteworthy: they depicted distant animals smaller, i.e. they painted with perspective, which took civilized artists centuries if not millennia to develop.


A lot of inhabited caves were unremarkable rock overhangs. Also many caves nearest the surface have been erased by the quarrying of limestone. Many somewhat deeper caves are also discovered in quarries, but those would not be the ones where man lived.

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Caves were eventually outlawed, because of disputes over property taxes. Why pay taxes on a whole cave, when you can only occupy a few square feet of it at a time?

Of course they exist, but they’re hardly thick on the ground, are they. There are a hell of a lot more areas that are not geologically situated for cave formation than areas that are. I very much doubt anyone would have passed up some lush hunting/gathering grounds just because there weren’t any big rocks to live under. If everyone restricted themselves to living in caves it would have severely curtailed mobility and expansion.


Wait… So nomadic non-agricultural peoples moved about without taking their caves with them? Weird.


You can’t handle the truth about cavemen!

You’d think Mobile homes and Yurts would be more popular than they are then. Personally, I think it would be very interesting if more people starting living a mobile lifestyle, but I can’t see it working in many parts of the country, and in most professions.

I don’t know, I kind of like the job title “itinerant web developer.” (Although since I’ve returned to college, I’ll try to resist the urge to make a comment about being a “road scholar.” OK, so I didn’t resist very strongly.)

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Um. Didn’t you people already know this? No. >.>

OK. I thought it was common knowledge, guess not. This isn’t groundbreaking stuff here, it has been known for at least 20 years maybe?

Who else just sees Erlich from Silicon Valley?

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