Why Do We Need Shelter?

Human beings need shelter for protection against natural threats, such as extreme weather and dangerous creatures, and even as security against other human beings. Humans also use shelter to store goods and possessions that are necessary for daily survival and healthy participation in daily society such as food, clothing and tools, according to HistoryWorld.

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, traces of hearths and shelters appeared 790,000 years ago. Early humans gathered around the hearth, in a shelter, to cook, eat and socialize. These early shelters were either at the mouth of caves, or composed of a ring of makeshift stone walls, with tent-like roofs using available local material, such as hides.

As early humans evolved from hunters and gatherers to farmers, their shelters became more complex and permanent, as necessary for storage and longer periods of residence. The invention of the mud brick and the need for farmers to settle in one area led to the rise of early human towns, such as Jericho.

As human society continued to evolve in such early cities, the purpose and use of shelter also transformed. While humans continued to use shelter for the primary purpose of security and protection, it also began to serve other functions, signaling the owner’s standing in society and allowing for aesthetic expression.