Suburban Stone Age

Primitive Technology, Sustainable Life


Ancient History of Water Containers

This series has focused on the archaeological timeline of human technologies. We’ve covered most of the basics, such as shelter, fire, and stone tools. But now it is time to diverge from strictly the science, which has really large gaps in time and technology, and start to talk about common sense survival. This is where things get exciting.

We’ll be hanging out in the last 100,000 years or so of human history going forward in this series, where many of the technologies we’ll discuss sound very familiar to those of us who are interested in modern survival and bushcraft skills. To that note, let’s talk about water.

When it comes to water, I don’t mean existing surface water, such as lakes and rivers, I’m talking about water that you must take with you when you travel or explore. In other words, we’ll be looking at not only water, but water containers.

In my opinion, water containers were absolutely essential for human survival through the ages. You need to be able to take water with you in order to explore new and unknown territory, travel from place to place, and have stored at your campsite for simple, everyday needs. Let’s take a look at the variety of solutions humans have come up with to take water with them.

Evidence for water containers in the archaeological record dates back to at 10,000 years ago, according to the Harvard Gazette (, although there may be earlierevidence out there. But my hypothesis is that people have been storing and carrying water for as long as there have been natural shapes to put it in, such as eggs, horns, or gourds. As time went on, and more sophisticated technologies developed, this essential container was made from materials that needed to be created, such as leather waterskins, water baskets, and terracotta jars. My hunch leads me to the conclusion that water containers evolved from simple to complex in form, but have been present for as long as humans have been on the move.

In conclusion, the variety of water containers used today could be a hint at how important a task it was. It was so important that it is almost invisible to the archaeological record, but humans would not be where they are today without it. What water containers were used in the ancient past in your area? Don’t forget to subscribe, and then leave a comment with your answer, we’d love to hear what it is. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you on the next video!