Monday, March 17, 2014

History of the Oldest Known Doors

A door to a home or public building provides protection from the elements and intruders, or offers privacy to residents. It is hard to imagine some locations without doors. Indeed, doors have been a part of human culture for thousands of years. To some, doors may seem as obvious an idea as the wheel, but the first door was undoubtedly an invention that changed the way early humans lived.

The Mysterious Origins of the Door

The recorded history of the structure known as the door is somewhat vague. The first depicted records of doors are found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. These are depicted as being wood which leads to a theory as to why relatively few ancient doors have been discovered.  Wood is a perfect material for a door because it is easy to shape and much easier to open and close than stone, but it disintegrates easily.
Although Scientists are relatively certain that doors have existed for longer than there are records of them, the following is list of some of the oldest doors known to modern man:

1.King Tut’s Tomb Cover

Egyptian tombs did not have doors in the sense of modern doors. Once a tomb was closed, it was assumed that there would be relatively little foot traffic in and out. Grave robbers did not pay this idea much mind, and most Egyptian tombs are thought to have been ransacked relatively close to the time of the occupants’ burials.

One tomb that was untouched was that of King Tutankhamen. When his tomb was found and the stone slab covering the entryway removed, the past glories of Egypt were revealed to the world.

2.Solomon’s Temple Doors

Unfortunately, these magnificent doors no longer exist but there were several accounts of them before the temple was destroyed by the invading Roman army. The door itself was made of olive wood and was beautifully appointed.

3.Stone Age door discovered in Switzerland

A timber door was recently found in Switzerland by a group of archeologists, and it is thought to be more than 5,000 years old. If the dating is correct, that would make the door one of the oldest if not the oldest surviving example of what modern people would easily recognize as a door.

4.Roman Folding Door

The volcanic tragedy on the island of Pompeii has provided a fascinating glimpse into what Roman cities looked like at the height of its empire. The ash from the volcano buried the nearby village and preserved many artifacts and murals. Along with other fascinating finds are the remnants of a sliding, panel door.

5.Stone Pivot Door

Most of the oldest doors that still exist today are made of stone. In many cultures, giant stone doors were carved for religious temples or sacred sites. The doors could pivot because of two giant pin-bearings on the top and bottom corners. Despite the skill it would take to make and hang such a door, it still likely took many men to open it.

The Future of Doorways

Although not often a topic of heated discussion, doors are becoming more advanced every year. Better security, new materials, and fantastic designs continue to grace the world of door-crafting. Who knows, maybe in another 5,000 years, scientists will be studying the doors that craftsmen are making today.
Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at with any questions or concerns. 

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