Early beds were little more than piles of straw or some other natural material (e. g. a heap of palm leaves, animal skins, or dried bracken). An important change was raising them off the ground, to avoid drafts, dirt, and pests. 23-5 million years ago, before the advent of humans, apes began creating beds composed of a sleeping platform including a wooden pillow. Bedding dated around to 3600 BC was discovered in Sibudu Cave, South Africa. The bedding consists of sedge and other monocotyledons topped with the leaves of Cryptocarya woodii Engl. Beds found in a preserved northern Scottish village, which were raised boxes made of stone and likely topped with comfortable fillers, were dated to between 3200 BC and 2200 BC. The Egyptians had high bedsteads which were ascended by steps, with bolsters or pillows, and curtains to hang around. The elite of Egyptian society such as its pharaohs and queens even had beds made of wood, sometimes gilded. Often there was a head-rest as well, semi-cylindrical and made of stone, wood, or metal. Ancient Assyrians, Medes, and Persians had beds of a similar kind, and frequently decorated their furniture with inlays or appliques of metal, mother-of-pearl, and ivory.
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