Ancient Methods of Personal Storage

Posted on 12 October 2023 | 4 minute read

Personal Storage

When we think about how ancient civilisations approached storage, our minds naturally drift towards food and water. However, storing items like furniture and personal effects is almost as old as civilisation itself, with some methods bearing a remarkable resemblance to how we approach storage today.

Ancient Underground Storage Rooms

For example, the Ancient Chinese reportedly used large clay pots to stash their items. The pots themselves were kept in underground chambers in what appears to be a public storage facility and possibly a commercial operation — maybe even the first. In early Greece, Delphi shows us an example of one of the earliest filing systems that potentially extended to keeping personal items.

In our current era of technological prowess, we distinguish between the comforts of modern living and the survival-esque life our ancestors led. Today, long-term storage is a commodity we take for granted.

Secure heavy-duty, weatherproof containers and electronic surveillance are ordinary conveniences that are part and parcel of the modern storage operation.

You might be wondering, how did our ancestors manage storage without the convenience of modern technology? As it turns out, people have been developing clever techniques to keep their possessions safe for centuries.

Of course, priorities for storage in the ancient world differed drastically from our current needs. Wondering where to find room for extra clothing, fancy shoes, or grandma’s antique wardrobe probably wasn’t at the top of most ancient people’s priorities.

Unlike today, where our next meal is available on a supermarket shelf just a short drive away, the struggle for sustenance in ancient times was a daily chore that made safeguarding food staples a matter of survival. Successfully storing food for a significant period meant creating a buffer against the leaner times, such as drought or harsh winters.

The First Food Preservation Techniques

Ancient Chinese texts recorded techniques for food preservation as far back as 2,000 years ago. Found in tombs, these ancient instructions elaborated on drying and salting food to curtail moisture and inhibit bacteria growth, ensuring the food remained safe for consumption.

We understand the Chinese were likely one of the first ancient peoples to discover food curing techniques, but records of various storage methods have been discovered in dig sites around the globe.

The First Grain Silos

Case in point: the earliest grain silos date as far back as 11,000 years ago. These early silos were likely built to protect against famine. One silo discovered in Ancient Egypt was large enough to support an entire community.

Ancient silo engineers appeared to understand much about what it took to preserve grain harvests. The first silos were ingeniously engineered structures constructed to promote air circulation, prevent moisture build-up, and resist rodents and other pest infestations, just like our steel shipping containers.

The Dawn of Agriculture

The dawn of an agrarian society intensified the need for efficient food storage, further sparking man’s inventiveness to emulate natural processes. Unlike hunter-gatherer tribes, which moved on when the weather turned sour, agrarian societies stayed put during harsh winters, making survival highly dependent on their food preservation skills.

In North America, prehistoric hunters discovered you could store meat underwater long-term. By securing their game at the bottom of lakes, they could leverage the natural cooling effect of water to slow down decomposition. They had so perfected this technique that researchers believe they may have been able to keep meat edible for several years.

Modern Storage Techniques

Modern Storage Techniques

We’ve come a long way since the era of underwater meat storage, clay pots for knick-knacks, and ancient filing systems. While storage is no longer a matter of life and death, modern humans still like to have somewhere safe to store belongings when space is at a premium.

We at 1800 We Store It offer top-notch personal storage solutions tailored to modern needs. We’re in the business of safekeeping your possessions using high-quality mobile shipping containers. You can store these units on your premises for easy access or trust us to keep them secure at our storage facilities.

Like those ancient grain silos, our high-quality shipping containers are ventilated and weatherproof to keep your valuable possessions safe and free of pests. Call 1800 We Store It and discover how simple, secure, and affordable portable self-storage can be.

Check out our recent blog on: Key Moments in Self Storage Industry