Continuity with the distant past is alive and well in many cave dwellings around the world. I09 has just published a piece on cave houses, some of which have been continuously inhabited for between 2,000 and 9,000 years! They also included the cave houses in the UK which inspired J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbit holes. All of these examples show how different societies carved their civilizations right out of the environment, while living in harmony with it. They also in the most graphic and clearest possible way show the origins of architecture, masonry, and brick-built houses. See more photos, including similar sites in Asia, in the i09 article.
Above: Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel, Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey: "This hotel is a combination of six cave houses with a total of 39 rooms from the 5th and 6th centuries and a 200-year-old Greek mansion," via Yunak Evleri Press Room.
Above: Cave homes and a chapel in Louresse-Rochemenier, France: via Wikimedia Commons/Pymouss44, Tango7174 and GaMip.
Above: Sassi di Matera, Matera, Italy: "These houses were dug into the rock itself, and it's the only place in the world where people have been continuously inhabiting the sames houses for the last 9,000 years," via Tango7174.
Above: Domus Civita, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy: "The 2500-year-old town founded by Etruscans has some tunnels, caves, and Roman water cisterns, and that's what makes the Domus Civita the best house ever. It has a secret garden, a pool with a hot tub, a wine cellar, and some minimalistic but wonderful underground rooms," via Flickr/Simone Brunozzi and Domus Civita.
Above: Cappadocia, Turkey: "The rock-cut houses and temples of the more than 200 underground villages and tunnel towns have survived the last 2,000 years and some of them are still occupied," via Cappadocia Tours Guide and Flickr/Adam79.
Above: Petra, Jordan: "These residences were established in the early 4th Century, and remained unknown to the Western world until 1812," via Wikimedia Commons/Bernard Gagnon - 1 and 2.
Kinver Edge, Staffordshire, inspiration for J. R. R. Tolkien's Shire. Image Source: The Times.
Cows at Kinver Edge, Staffordshire. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.
It's not hard to see how Tolkien could see a magnificent metaphor in Kinver Edge, Staffordshire: houses carved, then built with local brick taken from caves, right into the hillsides, as civilization sprang directly from caves. Thus, the hobbits represent the jump from cave-dwellers to house-dwellers, based on real, living experience. Image Source: The National Trust.
Kinver Edge Rock Houses, Staffordshire, UK. Image Source: Phil Barnes / The National Trust.
Above: J.R.R Tolkien's inspiration: Kinver Edge, Staffordshire, United Kingdom: "These houses were excavated into the local sandstone and inhabited until the late 1950s, but now the whole site is preserved by the National Trust," via Geolocation/P. L. Chadwick.
Kinver Edge rock (cave) house interiors. Images Source: Quinton Local History.
Kinver Edge Holy Austin Rock, 1895. Wiki: "Kinver Edge is home to the last troglodyte dwellings occupied in England, with a set of complete cave-houses excavated into the local sandstone. One of the rocks, "Holy Austin", was a hermitage until the Reformation. The Holy Austin rock houses were inhabited until the 1950s. They are now owned by the National Trust. The cottage gardens and an orchard are being replanted and restored." Image Source: Quinton Local History / B. J. Taylor.
Kinver Edge Holy Austin Rock, earlier than 1895. Image Source: Quinton Local History / B. J. Taylor.