Fireplace, feathers, & folds: a tale of 3 beds

Eleanor Konik

Eleanor Konik

Professionally, I teach pre-teens about ancient civilizations. In my downtime, I enjoy combining storytelling with my love of sharing obscure history and science.


My husband and I just ordered a new king-sized bed and it was surprisingly difficult to find the kind we wanted, so I got curious about how beds (and more generally, sleep habits) have changed throughout history. There was more variation than I expected.

Fun Facts

Ashy Grass Beds

As much as 200,000 years ago, people were mixing campfire ash with sedge leaves and aromatic grasses to create bug-repellent bedding in Africa. [Read More]

Heirloom Four Poster

A bed would have been the prized possession of women in high and late medieval cities. They were even given to a woman's eldest daughter upon her marriage. [Read More]

Fireside Sleep

The Aka people, who are foragers, build their (wooden) houses only big enough for a hearth fire and a bed, and wake up often to tend the fire. Their houses are situated closely together. [Read More]

The Bedroom Office

People in ancient Egypt typically arranged their houses for multi-functional purposes, and their beds probably doubled as an seating and status indicators for high-level meetings. [Read More]


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