Building Between the Two Rivers: An Introduction to the Building Archaeology of Ancient Mesopotamia 1789696038, 9781789696035

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Building Between the Two Rivers: An Introduction to the Building Archaeology of Ancient Mesopotamia
 1789696038, 9781789696035

Table of contents :
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents Page
List of Figures
Preface
Building archaeology: goals and methods
Building archaeology
The building survey and stratigraphy
Direct and indirect sources
The Mesopotamian context
Land use and water management
Urbanisation and city planning
Ancient cartography, topography and surveying
Commissioners, designers and builders
Ancient building crafts and technology
Building materials
Building materials: general characteristics
Earth architecture
Stone
Mortar
Bitumen
Wood and reeds
Metals
Claddings and decorations
Architectural elements
Load-bearing structural systems: general features
Walls
Arches, vaults and domes
Pillars and columns
Openings
Staircases
Domestic and urban structures for water management
Pavements, ceilings and roofs
Building types
Ziggurats and temples
Palaces
Fortifications
Houses, storage- and workplaces
Roads, streets, bridges
Infrastructures for the water management
Gardens and orchards
Portable shelters
Funerary buildings
Conclusions
Appendix: the methods of building archaeology
What is and what does ‘building archaeology’ deal with?
by Piero Gilento
Architectural stratigraphy
What is a Stratigraphic Building Unit (SBU)?
What stratigraphic relationships exist between the SBUs?
Typology and chronotypology in building archaeology
How to work
Web resources
Thematic bibliography
The Mesopotamian context
Building materials
Architectural elements
Building types
Bibliographic references
Contents
List of Figures
Preface
Figure 1: Map of ancient Mesopotamia [ or ].
Building archaeology: goals and methods
Building archaeology
The building survey and stratigraphy
Direct and indirect sources
Figure 2: Construction façade on a cylinder seal. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), second half of the 4th millennium BC. Bituminous limestone, height 4.5 cm, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 1983.314.
Figure 3a: Reed hut on the so-called ‘Uruk trough’. Uruk, second half of the 4th millennium BC. Limestone, length 96.5 cm. The British Museum, n. 120000. 3b: Contemporary reed hut in the Tigris-Euphrates Delta.
Figure 4: Temple façade on a vessel from Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC. Steatite, height 6.5 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A12415.
Figure 5: City wall with crenellated towers carved on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.
Figure 6: Cult vessel in the form of a tower. Syria (unknown provenance), c. 19th century BC. Ceramic, height 31.4 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 68.155.
Figure 8a-b: Changes in the state of the monuments due to destruction and restoration processes: the Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken in 1936 (a), and after the restoration works carried out in the 1980s (b).
Figure 7: The excavation of a gate flanked by lamassu statues at Dur-Sharrukin, in a calotype taken in 1853 by G. Tranchard.
The Mesopotamian context
Land use and water management
Urbanisation and city planning
Figure 9: Clay tablet illustrating the map of an irrigation system to the west of the Euphrates, with indications of length, width and depths of the canals. Mesopotamia, c. 17th century BC. Clay, 9.5 × 12 cm. The Schøyen Collection, n. MS 3196.
Figure 10: Shadappum. Plan of the Old-Babylonian settlement, c. 19th century BC.
Ancient cartography, topography and surveying
Figure 11: The so-called ‘Nuzi Map’. Nuzi, second half of the 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 7.6 × 6.5 cm. Semitic Museum, Cambridge MA, n. 4172.
Figure 12: Clay tablet with the map of the city of Nippur. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Clay, 21.5 × 17 cm.
Figure 13: The so-called ‘Nippur cubit’. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Copper alloy, length 110.35 cm. Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Commissioners, designers and builders
Figure 14: Clay tablet with an exercise of geometry. Shadappum, c. 19th century BC. Clay, height. c. 10 cm. Baghdad Museum, n. 55357.
Figure 15: Clay tablet with agronomic measurements. Girsu, c. 18th century BC.
Figure 16: Gudea statue B, the so-called ‘Architecte au plan’. To the right a detail of the plan of a temple. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Diorite, height 93 cm. Louvre Museum, object n. AO2.
Figure 17: Perforated stone slab with a relief of King Ur-Nanshe. The central perforation was probably intended to peg the slab to a wall. Lagash, 26th century BC. Limestone, height 39 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO 2344.
Figure 18: Fragment of the so-called ‘Ur-Nammu stele’. Ur, 22nd-21st century BC. Limestone, height 97 cm. Penn Museum, n. B16676.14.
Ancient building crafts and technology
Figure 19a: A ziggurat (or part of one) on a cuneiform tablet. Probably from Babylon, c. 6th century BC. Clay, 6.35 × 5.08 cm. The British Museum, n. 38217; 19b: A temple on a cuneiform tablet. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), first half of the 2nd mille
Figure 20: Two house-plans on a clay tablet. Eshnunna, 24th-22nd century BC. Clay, length c. 10 cm. Tell Asmar excavation n. AS 33:649.
Figure 21: Simple machines: a) lever; b) inclined plane; c) wedge; d) wheel; 5) screw.
Figure 22: Transporting a lamassu on a sledge, represented on an Assyrian relief: workers bring saws, hatchets, picks and shovels. Nineveh, 7th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124823.
Figure 23: Chariot with solid wheels, represented on the so-called ‘Standard of Ur’. Ur, mid 3rd millennium BC. Inlaid in shell, red limestone, lapis lazuli, bitumen; total length 50.4 cm.
Figure 24: Chariot with spoked wheels carved on the ‘Balawat Gates’. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.
Figure 25: The helical screw profile in a pottery stand from Haradum. First half of the 2nd millennium BC.
Building materials
Building materials: general characteristics
Figure 26a-c: The effects of cut (a), compression (b) and tension (c) on stone.
Earth architecture
Figure 27: Earth architecture methods: pisé. Construction of a pisé wall at Alfundão, Portugal.
Figure 28: Earth architecture methods: adobe. A wooden form is placed over adobe mixture in making bricks, Chamisal, New Mexico, 1940.
Figure 29: Earth architecture methods: wattle-and-daub. Structure in the Indian Mission Village of Bac, House No. 4, Tucson, Pima County, AZ, c. 1933.
Figure 30: Earth architecture methods: cob. An external wall from a building in Macerata (Italy) reveals the presence of cob bricks covered by straw.
Figure 31: Example of a masonry bond with plano-convex bricks.
Figure 32a: Moulded bricks used for column bases, partially restored, with cuneiform inscriptions dedicated to Gudea. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Clay, base length 180 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO388; 32b: Detail of the mud-brick decoration of the Innin Temple. U
Figure 33: Examples of marks on mud-bricks excavated at Bismaya, late 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 34: Mud-brick with cuneiform inscription. Southern Mesopotamia (exact provenance unknown), late 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 33 × 1 6 × 8 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 94051.
Stone
Figure 35: Examples of stone finishes, hand-worked with traditional tools in Northern Italy (province of Varese): chisel (a); punch (b); point (c); bush hammer (d); pick (e); toothed chisel (f).
Mortar
Figure 36: The main bitumen deposits in Mesopotamia.
Bitumen
Wood and reeds
Figure 37: Bitumen used as a mortar in the bricklaying of a building in Ur.
Figure 38: The transport of wooden trunks in an Assyrian relief from Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, total height 2.40 m. Louvre Museum n. AO 19890.
Figure 39: Woodcutters at work, represented on an Assyrian relief. Nineveh, 7th century BC.
Metals
Claddings and decorations
Figure 40: Detail of the so-called ‘Investiture of Zimri-Lim’ painting, from the Zimri-Lim palace at Mari, 18th century BC. Tempera on plaster, total size 1.75 × 2.50 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO19826.
Figure 42: Striding lion on a glazed panel from Babylon, ca. 604–562 B.C. Ceramic, glaze, height 97 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 31.13.1.
Figure 41: Mud-brick with a glazed guilloche design. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, 10.2 × 18.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 57.27.24a-b.
Figure 43: Detail of a glazed-brick panel (a), and its exploded view (b), from the Throne Room of Nabuchdnezar II in Babylon, 6th century BC.
Figure 44: Relief panel from the Northwest Palace at Kalhu, 9th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, height 236 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.8.
Figure 45: Human-headed winged lion (lamassu) from Kalhu, 9th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, height 311 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.2.
Figure 46: Buttresses and recesses in a mud-brick wall of the so-called dublalmakh, Ur, 14th century BC.
Figure 47: Fragment of a relief representing a building façade with buttresses and recesses topped with a sort of frieze, possibly made with terracotta bottles. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC. Limestone, height 10.8 cm.
Figure 48: Columns decorated with clay-cones at Uruk, reconstructed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.
Figure 49: Clay cones from southern Mesopotamia, late 4th millennium BC. Penn Museum, n. B2715-2.
Figure 50: Wall flower, from al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Clay, stone and bitumen, length 15 cm. Penn Museum, n. B15888.
Figure 52: Miniature corbel in the shape of a hand. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, length 22.2 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.30.
Figure 51: Reproduction of an Assyrian knob-plate. Ashur, 9th century BC.
Figure 53: Sikkatu-nail from Kilizu, 10th-7th century BC. Clay, length 18.5 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, object n. 203023.
Figure 54: Various Assyrian wall cones and nails, between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC.
Figure 55: A votive clay cone with cuneiform inscription. Lagash, 24th century BC. Clay, length 21.7 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 93768.
Figure 56: Relief panel representing the lion-headed eagle Imdugud gripping two ibexes or deer, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Lead, copper alloy, bitumen, length 259 cm. The British Museum, n. 114308.
Figure 57: Foundation peg in the form of a lion, probably from Urkesh, 22nd century BC. Copper alloy, 11.7 × 7.9 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 48.180.
Architectural elements
Load-bearing structural systems: general features
Walls
Figure 58a-d. Above: the pressure exerted on the trilithon (a) and the arch system (b). Below: examples of arch-like systems i.e. the corbel arch (c) and the jack arch (d).
Figure 59: Wall components: foundation (a), footings (b), masonry wall (c).
Figure 60: Brick surfaces (a) and an example of masonry bond (b).
Figure 61a-d: Some examples of brick- and stone-masonry bonds (not to scale). 61a: herringbone masonry of plano-convex mud-bricks from Tutub, 3rd millennium BC; 61b: stretcher bond brick masonry from Ur, 2nd millennium BC; 61c: rubble stone masonry in a w
Figure 62: Drainage holes in the ziggurat at Borsippa, 6th century BC, from two photographs taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.
Figure 63: Layers of reeds used for the construction of the ziggurat at Uruk, late 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 64: The main steps for shaping a rusticated stone.
Arches, vaults and domes
Figure 65a-b: Rusticated masonry in the aqueduct of Jerwan, 7th century BC.
Figure 66: The components of an arch: extrados (a); key-stone (b); intrados (c); impost (d); spring-line (e); rise (f).
Figure 67a-b: Examples of arches: round arch, Guzana, 1st millennium BC (a); segmental arch, Ashur, 1st millennium BC (b); camber arch, Karana, 2nd millennium BC (c).
Figure 68: The Porte du diable, Girsu, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 70: Vault of the gateway into Nabuchdnezar’s palace, Babylon, 6th century BC.
Figure 69: Barrel vault (a) and pitched vault (b).
Figure 71: Stone T-pillar from da Nevalı Çori, 9th millennium BC. Limestone, height c. 230 cm.
Pillars and columns
Figure 72: Mosaic column made of drums, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Core of palm wood, shale (black), mother-of-pearl, limestone (pink), copper, bitumen, height 115 cm. The British Museum, n. 116760.
Figure 73: Moulded columns with spiral profile in the northern façade of the temple at Shubat-Enlil, 18th century BC.
Figure 74: Stone column base from Residence K at Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Basalt, max diam. c. 25 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A17558.
Figure 76: Columns shaped as human figures from Guzana, reconstructed at the entrance of the Archaeological Museum of Aleppo, (a) and graphic section of the first and second passages of the palace (b), 9th century BC.
Figure 75: Openwork furniture plaque with a ‘woman at the window’. Kalhu, 8th century BC. Ivory, height 7.19 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 59.107.18.
Figure 77: A backed clay grille, probably used for a window, from Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 55 × 47 cm. Excavation n. As 32. 1186.
Figure 78: A window at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC: front (a), section (b).
Openings
Figure 79: Incised cosmetic box fragments with representation of a vaulted city gate. Kalhu, 9th-8th century BC. Ivory, height 4.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.11a,b.
Figure 80: Reconstruction of the Balawat Gates at the British Museum. Imgur-Enlil, 9th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124681.
Staircases
Figure 81: Door socket. Nippur, late 3rd millennium BC. Diorite, max. length c. 45 cm. Penn Museum, n. B8751.
Figure 83: Mud-brick staircase, built over an arched structure in the ‘TA House’ at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 82: Remains of the western stone stairs to the terrace of the Nin-hursag temple at al-Ubaid, on a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936, late 3rd millennium BC.
Domestic and urban structures for water management
Figure 84: The Double escalier, Girsu, late 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 85: The top of a fired brick well shaft, more than 30 m deep, Ashur, c. 11th century BC.
Figure 86: Stone duct at Hadatu, joined with mortar, coated with bitumen and covered with bricks, early 1st millennium BC.
Figure 87: 3rd-millennium BC drain pipes at Girsu.
Figure 89: Brick drainage canal in the ziggurat at Eridu, late 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 88: Knee and T-clay joins found in the excavation of the Temple of Bel at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC.
Pavements, ceilings and roofs
Figure 90: Toilet coated with bitumen in a private house at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 91: Artificial pools in front of the temple at Ashur, first half of the 1st millennium BC.
Figure 92: Pebble mosaic pavement at Til Barsip, 9th-8th century BC.
Figure 93: Roof and ceiling of a house at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 94: Two possible reconstructions of a 2nd-millennium BC house at Ur.
Building types
Form and function: some interpretation issues
Figure 95: ‘Temple C’ of level IVa2 at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.
Figure 96: The T-plan building at Tell Madhur, 4th millennium BC.
Ziggurats and temples
Figure 97: The ‘White Temple’ on its ziggurat at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.
Figure 98: The ‘Temple Oval’ of Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 99: The remains of the foundation ditch of the ziggurat at Babylon, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.
Figure 100: The Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936 (a). On the left (b): detail of the holes on the south-western face of the ziggurat.
Palaces
Figure 101: Main types of Mesopotamian temple plans. T-shaped temple, Uruk, 4th millennium BC (a); bent-axis temple, Sin Temple level VII at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC (b); in antis/megaron-type temple, Tell Khuera, 3rd millennium BC (c); broad-room temple,
Figure 102: The Palace A at Kish, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 103: Zimri-Lim’s Palace at Mari, early 2nd millennium BC.
Figure 104: Sargon II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin, 8th century BC, according to the reconstruction made by V. Place.
Figure 105: The throne room of Sargon II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin, 8th century BC.
Figure 106: The bit-hilani at the entrance to the Palace at Kapara, 9th century BC.
Figure 107: The remains of Nabuchdnezar’s Palace at Babylon, late 7th-early 6th century BC, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.
Fortifications
Figure 108: Tell es-Sawan during the Samarra period, late 7th millennium BC.
Houses, storage- and workplaces
Figure 109: The enceintes of Babylonia, 6th century BC: a) Euphrates; b) outer enceinte; c) inner enceinte.
Figure 110: Building with different plans at Jerf el-Ahmar, 10th-9th millennium BC.
Figure 111: The transition from the round (a) to the orthogonal (b) plan at Nemrik, 10th-9th millennium BC.
Figure 112: A tholos at Tell Arpachya, 6th millennium BC.
Figure 113: The round building at Tell Razuk, 3rd millennium BC.
Figure 114: Plan and reconstruction of a private house at Ur, early 2nd millennium BC.
Figure 115: A granary at Choga Mami, early 6th millennium BC.
Figure 116: Reconstruction of kilns found within the ‘Temple Oval’ at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.
Roads, streets, bridges
Infrastructures for the water management
Figure 117: Section of the Processional Way at Babylon, 6th century BC.
Figure 118: A bridge represented on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124681.
Figure 119: The standing remains of the aqueduct at Jerwan, 7th century BC.
Figure 120: Ideal section of a qanat.
Gardens and orchards
Figure 121: Sennacherib’s ‘hanging garden’ represented in an Assyrian relief. Ashurbanipal’s Palace at Nineveh, 7th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, eight 208 cm. The British Museum, n. 124939.a.
Figure 122: The area of green planting excavated in the Bit Akitu at Ashur, 7th century BC.
Portable shelters
Figure 123: Detail of a baghdir (left) and a tent (right), as represented on an Assyrian relief, 7th century BC.
Funerary buildings
Figure 124: Different kinds of coverings used in the underground buildings of the Royal Cemetery at Ur, mid 3rd millennium BC.
Conclusions
Appendix: the methods of building archaeology
What is and what does ‘building archaeology’ deal with?
Architectural stratigraphy
Figure 125: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: from the whole Architectural Complex (AC), to the single Stratigraphic Building Units (SBU).
What is a Stratigraphic Building Unit (SBU)?
What stratigraphic relationships exist between the SBUs?
Figure 126: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relations of ‘anteriority’ and ‘posteriority’.
Typology and chronotypology in building archaeology
Figure 127: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relation of ‘contemporaneity’ (binds with).
Figure 128: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the Architectural Complex of the so-called ‘Barracks’. Above: stratigraphic reading of the eastern front; below: orthophoto with the outline of the main masonry techniques of each phase.
Figure 129: Chronotypological table of masonry techniques and openings of the ‘Barracks’ at Umm al-Jimal (Jordan).
How to work
Figure 130: Drawing of the church and monastery of Saint George at Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), made at the beginning of the survey. The drawing already contains the main information for the architectural survey: measurements, stratigraphic relations, notes
Figure 131: Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), internal front of the presbyterial zone of the church and monastery of Saint George: a) orthophoto from a terrestrial digital photogrammetry; b) ‘stone-by-stone’ drawing carried out on the orthophoto; c) elaboration,
Figure 132: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), the Architectural Complex (AC) of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) 3D wire-frame model drawn on the point-cloud; b) obtained from terrestrial digital photogrammetry (after Parenti 2012: 190, fig. 3).
Figure 133: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Combined analysis of the external fronts and plan of an Architectural Complex (orthophoto elaborated by Gourguen Davtian, 2019).
Figure 134: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Architectural Complex 24. Registration card of the main features of the masonry technique.
Figure 135: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Chronological interpretation of the façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus.
Figure 136: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) photograph taken by Renato Bartoccini in the 1930s with the inscribed lintel still in situ; b) photograph taken by François Villeneuve in 1979: The lintel is still i
Web resources
Thematic bibliography
The Mesopotamian context
Building materials
Architectural elements
Building types
Bibliographic references
Chronological table
Glossary and analytical index
Illustration credits

Citation preview

Building between the Two Rivers An introduction to the building archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia

Stefano Anastasio

with an Appendix by Piero Gilento

Building between the Two Rivers An introduction to the building archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia

Stefano Anastasio with an Appendix by Piero Gilento

Archaeopress Archaeology

Archaeopress Publishing Ltd Summertown Pavilion 18-24 Middle Way Summertown Oxford OX2 7LG www.archaeopress.com ISBN 978-1-78969-603-5 ISBN 978-1-78969-604-2 (e-Pdf)

© Archaeopress and Stefano Anastasio 2020

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. This book is available direct from Archaeopress or from our website www.archaeopress.com

Contents List of Figures����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� iii Preface����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ix Building archaeology: goals and methods�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������1 Building archaeology������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������1 The building survey and stratigraphy��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������2 Direct and indirect sources��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������3 The Mesopotamian context������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10 Land use and water management�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10 Urbanisation and city planning�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������11 Ancient cartography, topography and surveying�����������������������������������������������������������������������������13 Commissioners, designers and builders���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������16 Ancient building crafts and technology���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 Building materials����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25 Building materials: general characteristics���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25 Earth architecture����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������26 Stone��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������34 Mortar������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������38 Bitumen���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������40 Wood and reeds��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������41 Metals������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������44 Claddings and decorations�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������45 Architectural elements�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������59 Load-bearing structural systems: general features��������������������������������������������������������������������������59 Walls���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������59 Arches, vaults and domes���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������67 Pillars and columns�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������72 Openings��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������76 Staircases�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������79 Domestic and urban structures for water management ����������������������������������������������������������������81 Pavements, ceilings and roofs��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������85 Building types�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������90 Form and function: some interpretation issues��������������������������������������������������������������������������������90 Ziggurats and temples���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������93 Palaces�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������97 Fortifications����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������103 Houses, storage- and workplaces������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������106 Roads, streets, bridges������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������113 Infrastructures for the water management������������������������������������������������������������������������������������114 Gardens and orchards�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������118 i

Portable shelters����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������120 Funerary buildings������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������121 Conclusions�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������123 Appendix: the methods of building archaeology����������������������������������������������������������������������������124 by Piero Gilento What is and what does ‘building archaeology’ deal with?������������������������������������������������������124 Architectural stratigraphy�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������125 What is a Stratigraphic Building Unit (SBU)?���������������������������������������������������������������������������127 What stratigraphic relationships exist between the SBUs?����������������������������������������������������128 Typology and chronotypology in building archaeology���������������������������������������������������������129 How to work������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������134 Web resources��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������144 Thematic bibliography������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������145 The Mesopotamian context���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������146 Building materials�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������147 Architectural elements�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������149 Building types���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������150 Bibliographic references���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������153 Chronological table������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������190 Glossary and analytical index������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������191 Illustration credits�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������203

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List of Figures Figure 1: Map of ancient Mesopotamia [ or ]. ����������������� x Figure 2: Construction façade on a cylinder seal. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), second half of the 4th millennium BC. Bituminous limestone, height 4.5 cm, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 1983.314.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Figure 3a: Reed hut on the so-called ‘Uruk trough’. Uruk, second half of the 4th millennium BC. Limestone, length 96.5 cm. The British Museum, n. 120000. 3b: Contemporary reed hut in the Tigris-Euphrates Delta.������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Figure 4: Temple façade on a vessel from Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC. Steatite, height 6.5 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A12415.����������������������������������������������������������� 6 Figure 5: City wall with crenellated towers carved on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 Figure 6: Cult vessel in the form of a tower. Syria (unknown provenance), c. 19th century BC. Ceramic, height 31.4 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 68.155.��������������������������������������������������� 8 Figure 8a-b: Changes in the state of the monuments due to destruction and restoration processes: the Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken in 1936 (a), and after the restoration works carried out in the 1980s (b).�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9 Figure 7: The excavation of a gate flanked by lamassu statues at Dur-Sharrukin, in a calotype taken in 1853 by G. Tranchard.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9 Figure 9: Clay tablet illustrating the map of an irrigation system to the west of the Euphrates, with indications of length, width and depths of the canals. Mesopotamia, c. 17th century BC. Clay, 9.5 × 12 cm. The Schøyen Collection, n. MS 3196.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Figure 10: Shadappum. Plan of the Old-Babylonian settlement, c. 19th century BC.����������������������������������� 12 Figure 11: The so-called ‘Nuzi Map’. Nuzi, second half of the 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 7.6 × 6.5 cm. Semitic Museum, Cambridge MA, n. 4172.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Figure 12: Clay tablet with the map of the city of Nippur. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Clay, 21.5 × 17 cm.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Figure 13: The so-called ‘Nippur cubit’. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Copper alloy, length 110.35 cm. Istanbul Archaeological Museum.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 Figure 14: Clay tablet with an exercise of geometry. Shadappum, c. 19th century BC. Clay, height. c. 10 cm. Baghdad Museum, n. 55357.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 Figure 15: Clay tablet with agronomic measurements. Girsu, c. 18th century BC.���������������������������������������� 16 Figure 16: Gudea statue B, the so-called ‘Architecte au plan’. To the right a detail of the plan of a temple. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Diorite, height 93 cm. Louvre Museum, object n. AO2.����������������������������� 17 Figure 17: Perforated stone slab with a relief of King Ur-Nanshe. The central perforation was probably intended to peg the slab to a wall. Lagash, 26th century BC. Limestone, height 39 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO 2344.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 18 Figure 18: Fragment of the so-called ‘Ur-Nammu stele’. Ur, 22nd-21st century BC. Limestone, height 97 cm. Penn Museum, n. B16676.14.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Figure 19a: A ziggurat (or part of one) on a cuneiform tablet. Probably from Babylon, c. 6th century BC. Clay, 6.35 × 5.08 cm. The British Museum, n. 38217; 19b: A temple on a cuneiform tablet. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), first half of the 2nd millennium BC. Clay, 11.4 × 8.12 cm. The British Museum, n. 132254.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 Figure 20: Two house-plans on a clay tablet. Eshnunna, 24th-22nd century BC. Clay, length c. 10 cm. Tell Asmar excavation n. AS 33:649.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 20 Figure 21: Simple machines: a) lever; b) inclined plane; c) wedge; d) wheel; 5) screw.�������������������������������� 21 Figure 22: Transporting a lamassu on a sledge, represented on an Assyrian relief: workers bring saws, hatchets, picks and shovels. Nineveh, 7th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124823.��������������� 22 Figure 23: Chariot with solid wheels, represented on the so-called ‘Standard of Ur’. Ur, mid 3rd millennium BC. Inlaid in shell, red limestone, lapis lazuli, bitumen; total length 50.4 cm.����������� 23

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Figure 24: Chariot with spoked wheels carved on the ‘Balawat Gates’. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 23 Figure 25: The helical screw profile in a pottery stand from Haradum. First half of the 2nd millennium BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 24 Figure 26a-c: The effects of cut (a), compression (b) and tension (c) on stone.�������������������������������������������� 25 Figure 27: Earth architecture methods: pisé. Construction of a pisé wall at Alfundão, Portugal.���������������� 27 Figure 28: Earth architecture methods: adobe. A wooden form is placed over adobe mixture in making bricks, Chamisal, New Mexico, 1940.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 Figure 29: Earth architecture methods: wattle-and-daub. Structure in the Indian Mission Village of Bac, House No. 4, Tucson, Pima County, AZ, c. 1933.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 27 Figure 30: Earth architecture methods: cob. An external wall from a building in Macerata (Italy) reveals the presence of cob bricks covered by straw.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 28 Figure 31: Example of a masonry bond with plano-convex bricks.����������������������������������������������������������������� 32 Figure 32a: Moulded bricks used for column bases, partially restored, with cuneiform inscriptions dedicated to Gudea. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Clay, base length 180 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO388; 32b: Detail of the mud-brick decoration of the Innin Temple. Uruk, 15th century BC. Fired bricks, height of the whole panel 205 cm. Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum, n. VA 10983. �������������������� 33 Figure 33: Examples of marks on mud-bricks excavated at Bismaya, late 3rd millennium BC.������������������ 34 Figure 34: Mud-brick with cuneiform inscription. Southern Mesopotamia (exact provenance unknown), late 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 33 × 1 6 × 8 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 94051.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 34 Figure 35: Examples of stone finishes, hand-worked with traditional tools in Northern Italy (province of Varese): chisel (a); punch (b); point (c); bush hammer (d); pick (e); toothed chisel (f).������������������ 37 Figure 36: The main bitumen deposits in Mesopotamia.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 40 Figure 37: Bitumen used as a mortar in the bricklaying of a building in Ur.�������������������������������������������������� 41 Figure 38: The transport of wooden trunks in an Assyrian relief from Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, total height 2.40 m. Louvre Museum n. AO 19890.���������������������������������������������� 43 Figure 39: Woodcutters at work, represented on an Assyrian relief. Nineveh, 7th century BC.����������������� 43 Figure 40: Detail of the so-called ‘Investiture of Zimri-Lim’ painting, from the Zimri-Lim palace at Mari, 18th century BC. Tempera on plaster, total size 1.75 × 2.50 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO19826.����� 47 Figure 42: Striding lion on a glazed panel from Babylon, ca. 604–562 B.C. Ceramic, glaze, height 97 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 31.13.1.����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 48 Figure 41: Mud-brick with a glazed guilloche design. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, 10.2 × 18.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 57.27.24a-b.��������������������������������������������������������������������� 48 Figure 43: Detail of a glazed-brick panel (a), and its exploded view (b), from the Throne Room of Nabuchdnezar II in Babylon, 6th century BC.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 49 Figure 44: Relief panel from the Northwest Palace at Kalhu, 9th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, height 236 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.8.������������������������������������������������������������ 50 Figure 45: Human-headed winged lion (lamassu) from Kalhu, 9th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, height 311 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.2.������������������������������������������������������������ 50 Figure 46: Buttresses and recesses in a mud-brick wall of the so-called dublalmakh, Ur, 14th century BC. ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 51 Figure 47: Fragment of a relief representing a building façade with buttresses and recesses topped with a sort of frieze, possibly made with terracotta bottles. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC. Limestone, height 10.8 cm.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 53 Figure 48: Columns decorated with clay-cones at Uruk, reconstructed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 54 Figure 49: Clay cones from southern Mesopotamia, late 4th millennium BC. Penn Museum, n. B2715-2.54 Figure 50: Wall flower, from al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Clay, stone and bitumen, length 15 cm. Penn Museum, n. B15888.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 55 Figure 52: Miniature corbel in the shape of a hand. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, length 22.2 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.30.������������������������������������������������������������������������ 56 Figure 51: Reproduction of an Assyrian knob-plate. Ashur, 9th century BC.������������������������������������������������� 56 Figure 53: Sikkatu-nail from Kilizu, 10th-7th century BC. Clay, length 18.5 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, object n. 203023.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 57 Figure 54: Various Assyrian wall cones and nails, between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC.��������������������� 57

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Figure 55: A votive clay cone with cuneiform inscription. Lagash, 24th century BC. Clay, length 21.7 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 93768.��������������������������������������������������������������������� 57 Figure 56: Relief panel representing the lion-headed eagle Imdugud gripping two ibexes or deer, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Lead, copper alloy, bitumen, length 259 cm. The British Museum, n. 114308.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 58 Figure 57: Foundation peg in the form of a lion, probably from Urkesh, 22nd century BC. Copper alloy, 11.7 × 7.9 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 48.180.����������������������������������������������������� 58 Figure 58a-d. Above: the pressure exerted on the trilithon (a) and the arch system (b). Below: examples of arch-like systems i.e. the corbel arch (c) and the jack arch (d).����������������������������������������������������� 60 Figure 59: Wall components: foundation (a), footings (b), masonry wall (c).������������������������������������������������ 61 Figure 60: Brick surfaces (a) and an example of masonry bond (b).���������������������������������������������������������������� 62 Figure 61a-d: Some examples of brick- and stone-masonry bonds (not to scale). 61a: herringbone masonry of plano-convex mud-bricks from Tutub, 3rd millennium BC; 61b: stretcher bond brick masonry from Ur, 2nd millennium BC; 61c: rubble stone masonry in a wall foundation from Karkemish, early 1st millennium BC; 61d: ashlar stone masonry at Dur-Sharrukin, 1st millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 62 Figure 62: Drainage holes in the ziggurat at Borsippa, 6th century BC, from two photographs taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 63 Figure 63: Layers of reeds used for the construction of the ziggurat at Uruk, late 3rd millennium BC.��� 64 Figure 64: The main steps for shaping a rusticated stone.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 66 Figure 65a-b: Rusticated masonry in the aqueduct of Jerwan, 7th century BC.�������������������������������������������� 67 Figure 66: The components of an arch: extrados (a); key-stone (b); intrados (c); impost (d); spring-line (e); rise (f).��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 Figure 67a-b: Examples of arches: round arch, Guzana, 1st millennium BC (a); segmental arch, Ashur, 1st millennium BC (b); camber arch, Karana, 2nd millennium BC (c).���������������������������������������������������� 69 Figure 68: The Porte du diable, Girsu, 3rd millennium BC.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 70 Figure 70: Vault of the gateway into Nabuchdnezar’s palace, Babylon, 6th century BC.����������������������������� 71 Figure 69: Barrel vault (a) and pitched vault (b).������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 71 Figure 71: Stone T-pillar from da Nevalı Çori, 9th millennium BC. Limestone, height c. 230 cm.�������������� 72 Figure 72: Mosaic column made of drums, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Core of palm wood, shale (black), mother-of-pearl, limestone (pink), copper, bitumen, height 115 cm. The British Museum, n. 116760.������������������������������������������������������������������� 73 Figure 73: Moulded columns with spiral profile in the northern façade of the temple at Shubat-Enlil, 18th century BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 74 Figure 74: Stone column base from Residence K at Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Basalt, max diam. c. 25 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A17558.���������������������������������������������������� 75 Figure 76: Columns shaped as human figures from Guzana, reconstructed at the entrance of the Archaeological Museum of Aleppo, (a) and graphic section of the first and second passages of the palace (b), 9th century BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 75 Figure 75: Openwork furniture plaque with a ‘woman at the window’. Kalhu, 8th century BC. Ivory, height 7.19 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 59.107.18.�������������������������������������������� 75 Figure 77: A backed clay grille, probably used for a window, from Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 55 × 47 cm. Excavation n. As 32. 1186.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 76 Figure 78: A window at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC: front (a), section (b).����������������������������������������������� 76 Figure 79: Incised cosmetic box fragments with representation of a vaulted city gate. Kalhu, 9th-8th century BC. Ivory, height 4.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.11a,b.��������� 78 Figure 80: Reconstruction of the Balawat Gates at the British Museum. Imgur-Enlil, 9th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124681.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 78 Figure 81: Door socket. Nippur, late 3rd millennium BC. Diorite, max. length c. 45 cm. Penn Museum, n. B8751.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 Figure 82: Remains of the western stone stairs to the terrace of the Nin-hursag temple at al-Ubaid, on a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936, late 3rd millennium BC.����������������������������������������������� 80 Figure 83: Mud-brick staircase, built over an arched structure in the ‘TA House’ at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 80 Figure 84: The Double escalier, Girsu, late 3rd millennium BC.�������������������������������������������������������������������������� 81 Figure 85: The top of a fired brick well shaft, more than 30 m deep, Ashur, c. 11th century BC.���������������� 82

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Figure 86: Stone duct at Hadatu, joined with mortar, coated with bitumen and covered with bricks, early 1st millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 83 Figure 87: 3rd-millennium BC drain pipes at Girsu.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 83 Figure 89: Brick drainage canal in the ziggurat at Eridu, late 3rd millennium BC.��������������������������������������� 84 Figure 88: Knee and T-clay joins found in the excavation of the Temple of Bel at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 84 Figure 90: Toilet coated with bitumen in a private house at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC.��������������������� 85 Figure 91: Artificial pools in front of the temple at Ashur, first half of the 1st millennium BC.����������������� 86 Figure 92: Pebble mosaic pavement at Til Barsip, 9th-8th century BC.����������������������������������������������������������� 87 Figure 93: Roof and ceiling of a house at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������� 88 Figure 94: Two possible reconstructions of a 2nd-millennium BC house at Ur.�������������������������������������������� 89 Figure 95: ‘Temple C’ of level IVa2 at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.�������������������������������������������������������������� 91 Figure 96: The T-plan building at Tell Madhur, 4th millennium BC.���������������������������������������������������������������� 92 Figure 97: The ‘White Temple’ on its ziggurat at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.������������������������������������������ 94 Figure 98: The ‘Temple Oval’ of Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC.�������������������������������������������������� 94 Figure 99: The remains of the foundation ditch of the ziggurat at Babylon, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 96 Figure 100: The Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936 (a). On the left (b): detail of the holes on the south-western face of the ziggurat.��������������������������������������������������������������������������� 96 Figure 101: Main types of Mesopotamian temple plans. T-shaped temple, Uruk, 4th millennium BC (a); bent-axis temple, Sin Temple level VII at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC (b); in antis/megaron-type temple, Tell Khuera, 3rd millennium BC (c); broad-room temple, Ninmah Temple at Ur, 1st millennium BC (d); long-room temple, Sin- Shamash Temple at Ashur, 2nd millennium BC (e). 98 Figure 102: The Palace A at Kish, 3rd millennium BC.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 99 Figure 103: Zimri-Lim’s Palace at Mari, early 2nd millennium BC.���������������������������������������������������������������� 100 Figure 104: Sargon II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin, 8th century BC, according to the reconstruction made by V. Place.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 101 Figure 105: The throne room of Sargon II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin, 8th century BC.������������������������������ 101 Figure 106: The bit-hilani at the entrance to the Palace at Kapara, 9th century BC.����������������������������������� 102 Figure 107: The remains of Nabuchdnezar’s Palace at Babylon, late 7th-early 6th century BC, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 102 Figure 108: Tell es-Sawan during the Samarra period, late 7th millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������� 104 Figure 109: The enceintes of Babylonia, 6th century BC: a) Euphrates; b) outer enceinte; c) inner enceinte.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 106 Figure 110: Building with different plans at Jerf el-Ahmar, 10th-9th millennium BC.�������������������������������� 107 Figure 111: The transition from the round (a) to the orthogonal (b) plan at Nemrik, 10th-9th millennium BC.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 108 Figure 112: A tholos at Tell Arpachya, 6th millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 108 Figure 113: The round building at Tell Razuk, 3rd millennium BC.��������������������������������������������������������������� 109 Figure 114: Plan and reconstruction of a private house at Ur, early 2nd millennium BC.������������������������� 110 Figure 115: A granary at Choga Mami, early 6th millennium BC.������������������������������������������������������������������ 110 Figure 116: Reconstruction of kilns found within the ‘Temple Oval’ at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.�������� 112 Figure 117: Section of the Processional Way at Babylon, 6th century BC.����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 114 Figure 118: A bridge represented on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124681.���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 114 Figure 119: The standing remains of the aqueduct at Jerwan, 7th century BC.������������������������������������������� 116 Figure 120: Ideal section of a qanat.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 117 Figure 121: Sennacherib’s ‘hanging garden’ represented in an Assyrian relief. Ashurbanipal’s Palace at Nineveh, 7th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, eight 208 cm. The British Museum, n. 124939.a.�� 119 Figure 122: The area of green planting excavated in the Bit Akitu at Ashur, 7th century BC.�������������������� 119 Figure 123: Detail of a baghdir (left) and a tent (right), as represented on an Assyrian relief, 7th century BC.��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 120 Figure 124: Different kinds of coverings used in the underground buildings of the Royal Cemetery at Ur, mid 3rd millennium BC.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 122

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Figure 125: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: from the whole Architectural Complex (AC), to the single Stratigraphic Building Units (SBU).����������������������������������������������������� 126 Figure 126: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relations of ‘anteriority’ and ‘posteriority’.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 128 Figure 127: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relation of ‘contemporaneity’ (binds with).����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 129 Figure 128: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the Architectural Complex of the so-called ‘Barracks’. Above: stratigraphic reading of the eastern front; below: orthophoto with the outline of the main masonry techniques of each phase.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 130 Figure 129: Chronotypological table of masonry techniques and openings of the ‘Barracks’ at Umm al-Jimal (Jordan).��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 132 Figure 130: Drawing of the church and monastery of Saint George at Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), made at the beginning of the survey. The drawing already contains the main information for the architectural survey: measurements, stratigraphic relations, notes on details… (drawing by Roberto Parenti, 2011).���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 135 Figure 131: Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), internal front of the presbyterial zone of the church and monastery of Saint George: a) orthophoto from a terrestrial digital photogrammetry; b) ‘stoneby-stone’ drawing carried out on the orthophoto; c) elaboration, with indication of the building periods.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 137 Figure 132: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), the Architectural Complex (AC) of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) 3D wire-frame model drawn on the point-cloud; b) obtained from terrestrial digital photogrammetry (after Parenti 2012: 190, fig. 3).������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 138 Figure 133: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Combined analysis of the external fronts and plan of an Architectural Complex (orthophoto elaborated by Gourguen Davtian, 2019).������������������������������ 139 Figure 134: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Architectural Complex 24. Registration card of the main features of the masonry technique.�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 140 Figure 135: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Chronological interpretation of the façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus. ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 142 Figure 136: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) photograph taken by Renato Bartoccini in the 1930s with the inscribed lintel still in situ; b) photograph taken by François Villeneuve in 1979: The lintel is still in situ; c) orthophoto taken in 2009: The lintel is missing and a large part of the wall has been significantly refurbished in 2006.����������� 143

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Preface Near Eastern archaeology is extremely rich in studies on architecture. This volume aims to make a further contribution, focusing on the architectural evidences from Mesopotamia, dating from the early Neolithic to the Achaemenian period, i.e. between the 10th millennium BC and the 4th century BC. In particular, this essay concerns the so-called ‘building archaeology’, that is the discipline dealing with the registration and analysis of all the building materials and techniques involved in the assembly and erection of constructions. Especially from the 1980s, studies on ancient architecture increasingly concentrated on all the topics related to ‘building construction’, even without neglecting the historic-artistic approach. It has often been emphasised that architectural remains require special attention by archaeologists. In fact, they need a different methodological approach, compared to the dating of ‘movable’ items. In most cases, a construction is the result of the sum of several building interventions realised over a span of time: a frequently quoted example is the Pantheon in Rome, that has an inscription by Marcus Agrippa on its pediment, but it ultimately came to us in the form realised under Hadrian (Giuliani 2008: 25). Such a situation occurs in any archaeological context as a rule, and it can therefore be a hard task for archaeologists to reconstruct the building history of the monument concerned. From this point of view, the registration of building materials and techniques is the proper starting point for archaeological investigation. The methods for surveying and registering these data, as well as those for undertaking the stratigraphic reading of the various elements of any single building structure, play a key role in building archaeology. It is worth noting that, apart for this common feature, the discipline developed differently, from the 1980s on, depending on the country and the research area (Prehistory, Classical or Medieval archaeology, etc). However, there is now widespread acceptance that stylistic and functional analyses are not enough to duly interpret an architectural monument. Detailed registration of the metric data, material features and construction techniques is required to ensure correct reconstruction of the total building history of structures realised long ago, and coming to us after an eventful life. In-depth registration and analysis of building materials and techniques require professional skills and experience that cannot be achieved only after a standard university training in archaeology. At the same time, the architect’s training is often insufficient to allow the effective use of technical information for the purpose of archaeological research. Coexistence between archaeologists and architects has not always been easy. However, it is clear that archaeologists cannot do the job of architects, and vice versa: somehow they must collaborate, which first means communicating with each other. From the archaeologist’s point of view – i.e. that of the current writer – it is necessary to know the basics of classification of building materials, their physical properties, the main techniques of their finishing, as well as the basic principles of statics. Archaeologists should also let architects understand how better to tune the registration of data to ensure a fruitful ix

Figure 1: Map of ancient Mesopotamia [ or ]. In geographical order: 1: Sam’al (Zincirli); 2: Ebla (Tell Mardikh); 3: Jericho (Tell es-Sultan); 4: Arslantepe; 5:

Tille Höyük; 6: Nevalı Çori; 7: Göbekli Tepe; 8: Guzana (Tell Halaf); 9: Tell Aswad; 10: Tell Khuera; 11: Karkemish (Jarablus); 12: Til Barsip (Tell Ahmar); 13: Hadatu (Arslan Taş); 14: Jerf al-Ahmar; 15: Halula; 16: Habuba Kabira; 17: Tell Kannas; 18: Emar; 19: Mureybet; 20: al-Kowm; 21: Tell Buqras; 22: Mari (Tell Hariri); 23: Haradum (Khirbet ed-Dinya); 24: Tell Masaikh; 25: Dur-Katlimmu (Tell Shekh Hamad); 26: Nabada (Tell Beydar); 27: Tell Brak; 28: Kahat (Tell Barri); 29: Shubat-Enlil (Tell Leilan); 30: Urkesh (Tell Mozan); 31: Tushan (Ziyaret Tepe); 32: Çayonü Tepesi; 33: Hallan Çemi; 34: Tell Maghzalya; 35: Karana (Tell ar-Rimah); 36: Tell Taya; 37: Ashur (Qalat Shergat); 38: Umm Dabaghya; 39: Hassuna; 40: Nemrik; 41: Tell Arpachya; 42: Tepe Gawra; 43: Nineveh (Kuyunjk-Nebi Yunus); 44: Kalhu (Nimrud); 45: Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad); 46: Jerwan; 47: Imgur-Enlil (Balawat); 48: Kilizu (Qasr Shamamuk); 49: Nuzi (Yorgan Tepe); 50: Tell es-Sawan; 51: Tell Razuk; 52: Abada; 53: Tell Madhur; 54: Choga Mami; 55: Eshnunna (Tell Asmar); 56: Shadappum (Tell Harmal); 57: Tutub (Khafaja); 58: Neribtum (Ischchali); 59: Dur-Kurigalzu (Aqar Quf); 60: Sippar (Abu Habba); 61: Tell Uqair; 62: Babylon (Babil); 63: Borsippa (Birs Nimrud); 64: Kish (Tell Ingharra); 65: Mashkan ash-Shapir; 66: Abu Salabikh; 67: Nippur (Nuffar); 68: Shuruppak (Fara); 69: Uruk (Warka); 70: Girsu (Tello); 71: Abu Tbairah; 72: Tell el-Oueili; 73: Larsa (Senkereh); 74: Lagash (Tell al-Hiba); 75: al-Ubaid; 76: Eridu (Abu Sharain); 77: Ur (Tell Mukayar); 78: Susa (Shush); 79: Dur-Untash (Choga Zambil); 80: Kamiltepe; 81: Pasargade; 82: Persepolis. In alphabetical order: Abada: 52; Abu Salabikh: 66; Abu Tbairah: 71; al-Kowm: 20; al-Ubaid: 75; Arslantepe: 4; Ashur (Qalat Shergat): 37; Babylon (Babil): 62; Borsippa (Birs Nimrud): 63; Çayonü Tepesi: 32; Choga Mami: 54; Dur-Katlimmu (Tell Shekh Hamad): 25; Dur-Kurigalzu (Aqar Quf): 59; Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad): 45; Dur-Untash (Choga Zambil): 79; Ebla (Tell Mardikh): 2; Emar: 18; Eridu (Abu Sharain): 76; Eshnunna (Tell Asmar): 55; Girsu (Tello): 70; Göbekli Tepe: 7; Guzana (Tell Halaf): 8; Habuba Kabira: 16; Hadatu (Arslan Taş): 13; Halula: 15; Hallan Çemi: 33; Haradum (Khirbet ed-Dinya): 23; Hassuna: 39; Imgur-Enlil (Balawat): 47; Jerf al-Ahmar: 14; Jericho (Tell es-Sultan): 3; Jerwan: 46; Kahat (Tell Barri): 28; Kalhu (Nimrud): 44; Kamiltepe: 80; Karana (Tell ar-Rimah): 35; Karkemish (Jarablus): 11; Kilizu (Qasr Shamamuk): 48; Kish (Tell Ingharra): 64; Lagash (Tell al-Hiba): 74; Larsa (Senkereh): 73; Mari (Tell Hariri): 22; Mashkan ash-Shapir: 65; Mureybet: 19; Nabada (Tell Beydar): 26; Nemrik: 40; Neribtum (Ischchali): 58; Nevalı Çori: 6; Nineveh (Kuyunjk-Nebi Yunus): 43; Nippur (Nuffar): 67; Nuzi (Yorgan Tepe): 49; Pasargade: 81; Persepolis: 82; Sam’al (Zincirli): 1; Shadappum (Tell Harmal): 56; Shubat-Enlil (Tell Leilan): 29; Shuruppak (Fara): 68; Sippar (Abu Habba): 60; Susa (Shush): 78; Tell Arpachya: 41; Tell Aswad: 9; Tell Brak: 27; Tell Buqras: 21; Tell el-Oueili: 72; Tell es-Sawan: 50; Tell Kannas: 17; Tell Khuera: 10; Tell Madhur: 53; Tell Maghzalya: 34; Tell Masaikh: 24; Tell Razuk: 51; Tell Taya: 36; Tell Uqair: 61; Tepe Gawra: 42; Til Barsip (Tell Ahmar): 12; Tille Höyük: 5; Tushan (Ziyaret Tepe): 31; Tutub (Khafaja): 57; Umm Dabaghya: 38; Ur (Tell Mukayar): 77; Urkesh (Tell Mozan): 30; Uruk (Warka): 69.

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archaeological interpretation. A basic knowledge of such architectural skills will also allow archaeologists to avoid a common mistake – the lack of distinction between ‘registration’ and ‘interpretation’. Actually, they are complementary, but separate, steps of the research. Finally, a better understanding of the architectural basics will also enable archaeologists to make informed choices when planning future researches. Near Eastern archaeology applies the methods of building archaeology, and many architectural remains have been published with a rich and detailed description of their material and technical characteristics. However, compared to other research areas, such as Roman or Medieval archaeology, the research is still strongly oriented to a stylistic and art historical approach. Sometimes technical analysis still struggles to find its space. Moreover, the intrinsic perishability of the architectural heritage of ancient Mesopotamia makes it hard fully to evaluate the information gathered from surveys and excavations carried out in the past, and any analysis is therefore bound by the available documentation. In spite of all this, a huge amount of potentially valuable data exists, both thanks to the architecture still standing, and the dedicated literature and archive documentation. This volume focuses on ancient Mesopotamia (considered in a broad sense, including bordering, but consistent, regions such as Assyria and inner Syria, immediately west of the Euphrates ‒ Figure 1). Of course, this region can no longer be considered as being of ‘major’ importance (and my thoughts turn to Henri Frankfort’s label ‘peripheral regions’, used for grouping Asia Minor, the Levant and Persia with respect to Mesopotamia ‒ Frankfort 1954). However, the historical framework of Mesopotamia is characterised by a cultural continuity and an amount and quality of available information which justifies, in my opinion, a dedicated essay. This book, written by an archaeologist, cannot be an exhaustive and detailed handbook on architectural building techniques: its goal is to introduce university students and scholars in Near Eastern archaeology to those building archaeology methods applied within the Mesopotamian context. This should help the reader to understand the principles underlying this discipline, and to realise what knowledge and skills are needed, beyond those specific to archaeologists. Because of the introductory nature of the book, the contents have been organised in chapters as didactic as possible, trying to cover all the main topics and illustrating them by means of selected examples. The inevitable gap in the choice of examples should be filled in somewhat, in the author’s intention, with the aid of the Thematic Bibliography chapter, in which the reader will find references and reading tips. The method of ‘stratigraphic reading’ is considered fundamental for any analysis of building archaeology, and therefore a special appendix, authored by Piero Gilento, is dedicated to this topic. This work is an updated English version of an essay published ten years ago (Costruire tra i due fiumi). That particular work was written while undertaking a very fruitful and rewarding building archaeology survey at the site of Umm al-Surab, in Jordan, under the direction of Roberto Parenti. I owe to him my interest and passion for the intriguing job of reconstructing the history of standing walls. Moreover, many colleagues have supported this publication with xi

tips, comments, and the supply of images for the illustrations. Consequently the best thanks from Piero Gilento and me are due to Susan Allison, Valentina Aversa, Jenina Bas, Brigitte Boissavit-Camus, Guy Bunnens, Amalia Catagnoti, Jennifer Celani, Costanza Coppini, Gina Coulthard, María de los Ángeles Utrero Agudo, Dora D’Auria, Maria Cristina Guidotti, Christine Kepinski, Marc Lebeau, Mario Liverani, Cristina Meneses, Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, Giovanni Pesce, Francesco Rizzi, Francesco Saliola, Eric W. Schnittke, Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, Enrico Quagliarini, François Villeneuve, Harvey Weiss. Also, my gratitude goes to the team at Archaeopress for the whole editorial support process, including the revision of the English translation. Finally, this book comes out after the disappearance of my Doktorvater, Prof. Dr Harald Hauptmann, who taught me so many things, despite the little (too little!) time I could spend with him, and I would like to dedicate this work to him. Firenze, 12 July 2020

Stefano Anastasio

xii

Building archaeology: goals and methods Building archaeology Building archaeology is the discipline that deals with the reconstruction of the history of any ancient building, taking its whole life cycle into account, from the first project to its current state, by going through all the natural and man-made interventions that modified the building over time. The first step of the analysis implies the direct observation of the building concerned, by means of a ‘building survey’, aimed at obtaining the fundamental metric data and a general description of the structure and its contexts. On the basis of the data gathered by the survey, a stratigraphic reading of the structure can then be performed, which is essential for a reliable and accurate insight into the relative chronology of the building, i.e. the chronological sequence of all the building interventions that have led to its current state. Targeted archaeological soundings, post-excavation analyses, as well as the use of ‘indirect’ sources (written texts, iconography, oral and written traditions, etc.) may help to obtain data for the definition of the absolute chronology of the whole building and/or a single part of it. Finally, a correct and informed archaeological and functional interpretation of the building will be possible by integrating all these data with those obtained by means of the art historical and stylistic analysis. In the absence of detailed registration and documentation, the risk of inappropriate interventions on damaged monuments is very high: reconstructing the construction history of a building over time is therefore fundamental to allow careful and suitable restoration interventions. This would also help minimise the risk of certain ‘rebuilding approaches’ that affect conservation strategies, and prevent the galloping proliferation of ‘new-ancient monuments’, which, sadly, we are increasingly facing, especially in the Near East. In a broad sense, we can trace the origin of building archaeology to the Renaissance, when architects like Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) carried out geometric surveys of the ancient Roman monumental buildings, studying them analytically, and distinguishing ancient Roman ones from those that followed later (Vasari 1550). More recently, the modern discipline developed in the 1970s, assuming a defined profile between the 1980s and 1990s. Today, building archaeology has different names in different languages: Archéologie du bâti (F), Archeologia dell’architettura (I), Arqueologia de la arquitectura (E), Bauforschung (D), Monumentalarchäologie (CH), Bouwistorie (NL), and so on. Actually, there are significant differences also in the way disciplines developed in various countries. This transpired from the different characteristics of ancient architectural heritages, as well as different liaisons between archaeologists and architects, which have not always been easy. Shortly after, the debate enlarged to include art historians, conservators, engineers, technicians, and others. A further cause of the discipline’s non-uniform development was a sort of unwillingness by some scholars to spread their pioneering studies beyond their communities. However, it should be said that, at the very end, such a patchy development also contributed to the current vitality and wealth of the discipline.

1

Building between the Two Rivers

The building survey and stratigraphy As mentioned, the methods of building archaeology first involve direct observation and analysis of the construction. The building survey is aimed at the production of a true-toscale graphic documentation of the analysed structure, which is a three-dimensional object. This aspect becomes much more relevant during the step that follows registration, when the relations existing between the various elements making up the construction are defined. Stratigraphy was firstly developed as a branch of geology during the 19th century. At the end of the same century, some pioneers of archaeological research, such as W.M. Flinders Petrie, H. Schliemann, General Pitt Rives, and others, introduced the principles of stratigraphy in archaeological excavations. However, it was only in the 1970s that the works by E.C. Harris fixed some basic ‘principles of archaeological stratigraphy’, actually and clearly separating the geological and archaeological methods (Harris 1979): the archaeological stratigraphy is determined by natural and anthropic factors, and can be graphically represented in a diagram (matrix) that should illustrate the relationships between the recorded units (strata). In respect of excavations, the building archaeology survey needs to tune stratigraphic analysis to its characteristics: in particular, a) the three-dimensional size of the buildings analysed, and b) the need to recognise actions carried out by ancient builders that intentionally ‘masked’ the stratigraphy itself (for example, ancient restorations or infills that had to be as less discernible as possible). These adjustments of the method were drawn up by the same E.C. Harris (2003), as well as by several other scholars over the last few decades (see Schuller 2002, Beltramo 2009 and Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012 for a general overview of this issue). Generally, there is a tendency to adopt operative protocols for describing ‘architectural complexes’, which are themselves the result of the sum of various ‘building elements’, i.e. the individual building structures that can be distinguished by means of easily recognisable features (e.g. a tower, room, shelter, etc.). It is essential that the analysis should also detect the ‘stratigraphic building units’, which are those elements that correlate to homogeneous and uninterrupted building actions within the history of a structure, for example the construction of a wall (or the reconstruction of a part of it), a window, or an attic. These actions include both natural ones, such as gradual deterioration or structural instability caused by earthquakes and other natural events, and anthropogenic ones, such as the cutting of a wall to create a new opening, or the chiselling of a frescoed surface (Anastasio, Gilento, Parenti 2016: 301). The terminology, as well as the level of detail of the registration protocol, can vary, depending on the different scholars and the project’s goals. Given the specificity of this topic, further information can be found in the dedicated appendix compiled by Piero Gilento (see p. 124). Here, suffice it to say that the application of the stratigraphic method in building archaeology is by now widely accepted, and some remarks and denials that can be found in the specialised literature up until the end of last century can certainly be regarded as outdated (see Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012: 14). However, the method still needs to be better tuned, and some limitations must be taken into consideration: for example, the reconstruction of the stratigraphy of an excavation normally progresses through a destruction process, but such a destruction cannot be accepted in a building archaeology project. Furthermore, a detailed stratigraphic reading of a building structure generally 2

Building archaeology: goals and methods

generates great data fragmentation and the resulting data sets may be difficult to manage. Finally, despite the fact that reconstruction of the constructive history of the building should be the main goal of the analysis, it is true that the stratigraphic reading focuses on the current state of the building itself, and it is therefore sometimes not possible to recognise the whole and exact sequence of any structural changes and static fittings (openings, infills, enlargements, etc.) that resulted in the current state of the structure (see particularly Beltramo 2009: 44-46 for a general overview of these criticisms). The debate on these and further methodological issues is still open within the community of building archaeologists: whilst this mean that some problems and difficulties still exist, it is also true that this all makes the discipline particularly challenging and thought provoking in the current panorama of archaeological studies. To sum up, we can say that, despite that this method still needs improvements and fine-tuning, it is now widely accepted that stratigraphic reading is a fundamental tool for reconstructing the sequence of constructive and destructive actions brought to the current state of the building, which means its relative chronology. The data gathered during the building survey are therefore fundamental for a thorough and exhaustive interpretation of the structure concerned. The following features deserve, therefore, particular attention when collecting data: a) the type of materials used for the building; b) the type and degree of accuracy of the material surface finishing; c) the identification of the building techniques (type of arrangement of the bricks and other building units in masonry, their dimensions, any finds of mortars, etc.); d) the detailed registration of type and distribution of fillings (if any); e) the position of any element bearing specific information about dating (if any), i.e. epigraphic inscriptions, or samples for laboratory analysis. Direct and indirect sources The chronology of building structures can be reconstructed thanks to data gathered from ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ sources, which are all those that can be found in the structure itself, and those derived from any document on the structure, respectively (Parenti 1988b). Direct sources are therefore those observed, registered and analysed during the building survey and the stratigraphic reading, and they are fundamental to reconstruct the sequence of the individual building activities that led to the current state of the structure, i.e. the relative chronology. They can also determine the absolute chronology (e.g. an epigraphy within a wall), but this last one can be primarily achieved thanks to the analysis of indirect sources, i.e. post-excavation analyses, as well as all those that fall under the umbrella term of ‘historic sources’ for convenience: oral tradition, early written documents, early cartography and photography, iconography. Among the post-excavation analyses, radiocarbon, thermoluminescence and dendrochronology play an important role (see Thematic Bibliography references). Radiocarbon analysis consists in measuring the radioactive isotope of carbon present in every object containing organic material. When the organic element dies, the radiocarbon begins to decrease. The sample’s radiocarbon measurement is therefore compared with a calibration curve in which the proportion of radiocarbon existing in the atmosphere over the past 50,000 years is indicated in order to estimate an absolute date, corresponding to the moment of ‘death’ of the analysed organic sample. This method is particularly reliable for very ancient periods, whereas dating samples from the last few centuries often calls for reservations. In building archaeology, radiocarbon analysis is mostly used for dating mortars. 3

Building between the Two Rivers

Thermoluminescence analysis concerns ceramic remains. The analysis enables an estimate of the timespan between the current date and the last previous heating of the sample, which, in most cases, corresponds to the firing of the ceramic. It is therefore a very useful dating tool for all those ceramic elements used in architecture, with due reservations that the sample must not have suffered accidental firing, such as a building fire. A further dating method often used in building archaeology is dendrochronology, which aims to date wood building elements from the sequence of ring thickness. Among the statistical analyses, it is worth noting the practice of mensiochronology, or ‘measure-chronology’, a dating method based on statistical analyses of sizes of bricks, stones, and any other class of masonry decorative elements. Especially in the case of bricks, it has been proved to be a very useful indicator. It is applicable to social contexts in which bricks were mass produced, with standard sizes defined by a central authority (see pages 141-144). Despite the importance of bricks in ancient Mesopotamian architecture, and the variety of brick sizes over time and space, this data has often been neglected in excavation reports, or limited to selected examples. This has prevented Near Eastern archaeology from developing appropriate research based on the application of this method, which was first conceived in the 1970s for the study of the Medieval architecture of the Italian city centre of Genoa (Mannoni, Milanese 1988), and which is now widely used in the field of architecture of this period. It is to be hoped that this method, which has noticeably lower costs than laboratory analyses, will be more widely used in the field of Near Eastern archaeology, provided that this kind of information is systematically registered and published (see the Thematic Bibliography for some case studies on Mesopotamian brick sizes). A further interesting dating method, based on comparative analysis, is what has been labelled ‘chronotypology’, intended to identify distinguishing constructive features so as to associate them with the period in which they were used. This system is effective when applied within a specific geographical area, with a significant population of classified elements, for which at least some absolute datings are available thanks to different sources. Classifying these elements allows us to identify groups that share the same features, and to sort them in a relative chronological sequence (see pages 129-134). As far as historic sources are concerned, cuneiform texts and iconography are especially significant for the study of ancient Mesopotamian architecture. However, it must be pointed out that these sources generally consist of documents concerned with specific buildings and construction activities. They rarely allow archaeologists to obtain data that might be useful for the reconstruction of ancient building techniques and methods in general. In Mesopotamian sources, in particular, we lack true and proper technical texts and manuals. Most of cuneiform texts dealing with the construction of any building are generally celebratory and do not report significant information about the actual building processes. Furthermore, especially in the earliest periods (until the end of the 2nd millennium BC), architectural accuracy was filtered through the interpretation of scribes, who were on the whole not experienced in building techniques, as well as not necessarily being interested in reporting information and those skills that were verbally shared and handed down by craftsmen as a rule (Moorey 1994: 16; Powell 1995: 1941). Nevertheless, several epigraphic documents exist that give us some indications as to the way architects and masons worked, on the basis of projects prepared on forms of 4

Building archaeology: goals and methods

architectural drawings, reproduced on clay tablets. In such drawings, walls could be indicated, together with cuneiform information about measurements, scheduled amounts of bricks, and other notes useful to the project (see pages 18-20). A cuneiform archive in particular, coming from clandestine excavations and referring to the Neo-Sumerian city of Gershana, has proved to be of great interest for our knowledge of 3rd-millennium BC building techniques and procedures (Owen, Nayr 2008; Heimpel 2009; Sauvage 2011a; 2016b). The archive contains the records of Shu-Kabta, a brother-in-law of a king of Ur during the Neo-Sumerian period. The texts give reports on the construction and repair works made to the Shu-Kabta estate at Gershana, which was probably located near Umma, but whose precise location is still unknown. The texts illustrate the whole management of the building activities performed at Gershana: workers, tools and equipment, building activities, etc. (some specific information from this archive is discussed on page 30). Iconographic sources consist mainly of architectural representations in glyptic and relief sculpture, as well as three-dimensional clay models. Their most noticeable contribution is the possibility they provide to reconstruct building elevations, but it must be pointed out that such representations, like cuneiform documents, are not generally precise or reliable from a technical point of view. Bi-dimensional representations are usually synthetic and rough: this is the case, for example, of most glyptic representations (Figure 2). Only in a few cases are they clear enough to allow the identification of precise building types: see, for instance, the representation of the reed hut on the well-known Sumerian ‘Uruk trough’, which strongly resembles the mudhif, i.e. the contemporary huts of Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq (Figure 3). However, it is on the whole not possible to retrieve significant technical information from these ancient representations. Wherever the represented structure is not closely comparable to a well-known type, it is hard to venture any reconstruction. A good example of this limitation is given by the architectural representations on some 3rd-millennium BC chlorite and steatite vases, such as the one reproduced in Figure 4 here. Various interpretations have been offered by scholars for such a structure, consisting in a sort of panel, formed by triple vertical bands on both vertical sides and a triple, down-curving band at the top – possibly a structure with an elastic (reed?) material inserted between two posts, or festoons attached to looped poles, or a round structure made up of connected panels, etc. (Delougaz 1960: 91-92). However, none of these can be definitively accepted, based on the iconographic representation alone.

Figure 2: Construction façade on a cylinder seal. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), second half of the 4th millennium BC. Bituminous limestone, height 4.5 cm, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 1983.314.

5

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 3a: Reed hut on the so-called ‘Uruk trough’. Uruk, second half of the 4th millennium BC. Limestone, length 96.5 cm. The British Museum, n. 120000. 3b: Contemporary reed hut in the Tigris-Euphrates Delta.

Figure 4: Temple façade on a vessel from Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC. Steatite, height 6.5 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A12415.

6

Building archaeology: goals and methods

Figure 5: City wall with crenellated towers carved on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.

An interesting case, among the bi-dimensional representations, concerns Assyrian stone and bronze reliefs, especially those realised between the 9th and 7th centuries BC (Figure 5). In siege and war scenes, the Assyrian artists usually illustrated conquered towns in great detail, with the towns differing from one another, depending on their geographical location, with the differences reflecting types of towers, battlements, gates, and so on. Therefore, it is likely that these differences are in most cases reliable, with the details reflecting actual characteristics of the buildings represented. However, these representations call for some reservations, i.e. one might ask if they are always the result of the artist’s first-hand knowledge (see page 120, for an example highlighting representations of tents on reliefs). Three-dimensional clay models (Figure 6) were realised since Neolithic times (an example from Çayonu Tepesi dates from the 8th-millennium BC ‒ Lichter 2007: 278). These models are in the main well detailed, but they are nevertheless of little use in terms of reconstructing the building techniques of the actual constructions. The purposes and functions of these items have yet to be clarified (Muller, B. 2002: 200 especially), but it is clear that they were not intended as working models for the architects, and thus they do not necessarily adhere in details and ratios to actual buildings. As for the historic sources, useful information can be found, of course, in ancient and modern written documents, drawings, maps and photographs, especially thanks to those travellers and geographers who described the monuments and ruins they visited. Even descriptions of only a few decades ago are often particularly helpful, as they may bear witness to the state of buildings that is different from today, and, in many cases, prior to excavations and/or conservation interventions that may have significantly modified them. Early photography, in 7

Building between the Two Rivers

particular, plays an important role. It is well known that photography and archaeology – Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeology in particular – grew and developed together from their very beginnings: the photographic method was presented in Paris in 1839, and only three years later, in 1842, Richard Lepsius was the first to bring on his archaeological expedition to Egypt what we might consider a modern camera. The first successful use of a camera in Near Eastern excavations was about ten years later, when Gabriel Tranchard took several photographs during the 1852 excavations at Khorsabad, in Assyria (Figure 7). From the 1860s on, it was common to find photographers on the staffs of the main archaeological expeditions. All these ‘early photos’ are of invaluable help in reconstructing the condition of monuments before the changes that have often occurred over the last 150 years (and we should not think only of destructive changes, but also of reconstructions: see the example in Figure 8).

Figure 6: Cult vessel in the form of a tower. Syria (unknown provenance), c. 19th century BC. Ceramic, height 31.4 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 68.155.

8

Finally, oral traditions should not be underestimated. Despite the long lapse of time between the construction of ancient Mesopotamian buildings and the present, our knowledge of traditional building methods can be extremely useful. In fact, the many shifts that have occurred in society and economies over the last decades, together with the most recent technological advances, have also dramatically changed building processes. Many traditional techniques dating back to very early periods, which were passed on over time, are today almost completely lost and forgotten. These traditions can be of particular interest when it comes to reconstructing the building processes of many archaeological remains, and it should be fundamental that we register and document them before they completely disappear.

Building archaeology: goals and methods

Figure 7: The excavation of a gate flanked by lamassu statues at DurSharrukin, in a calotype taken in 1853 by G. Tranchard.

Figure 8a-b: Changes in the state of the monuments due to destruction and restoration processes: the Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken in 1936 (a), and after the restoration works carried out in the 1980s (b).

9

The Mesopotamian context Land use and water management All constructions that modify the territory to make it habitable are taken into consideration by building archaeology: therefore, not only single buildings but also infrastructures, i.e. all those systems and facilities that are fundamental for the economy of a city or region (roads, bridges, water supply systems, etc.). The transformation of the landscape is a crucial aspect for research. In terms of the ancient Mesopotamian context, special attention must be given to landscape transformations stemming from the introduction and advancements of water management and irrigation techniques, and the consequent changes and developments in settlement strategies. The name ‘Mesopotamia’, from the Greek and meaning ‘between the rivers’, perfectly matches the distinguishing feature of this country – the presence of the Euphrates and Tigris. The effects of these rivers on the people of ancient Mesopotamia have also always been instrumental in the development of their building techniques. In this essay, both the region between the two rivers and the fluvial valleys, and the territories immediately beyond, are taken into consideration. Thus the valleys of the eastern Tigris’ tributaries, such the Greater and the Lesser Zab, in Assyria, and the Diyala, as well as the Syrian valley west of the Euphrates, are considered, because of their strong cultural relations with the real Mesopotamia. It is important to emphasise that the natural resources were, and still are, not distributed evenly over the whole region, which can be roughly divided into different natural environments: the steppe in the north; the foothills and mountains to the north-east; the central, pre-desert plains; and the alluvial plains to the south, in the Tigris-Euphrates delta (Kubba 1987: 16-18). The main difficulties of the ancient Mesopotamian communities did not actually lie in the disposition of water, but in its accessibility and availability, and the development of the ancient settlements relied mainly on the capacity to overcome these problems. All the Mesopotamian environments required that ancient communities should have a strong capacity to adapt and develop different strategies for making the best use of the available resources. Technological advances played an important role in changing settlement patterns: for instance, the development of building techniques for water management structures allowed 4th- and early 3rd-millennium BC communities to settle and cultivate previously uninhabited lands in southern Mesopotamia. The earliest structures for water management consisted in diverting and damming river branches and channels, followed shortly afterwards by more sophisticated networks of canals (Figure 9). Especially in Sumer, the development of the irrigation systems resulted in extensive land exploitation and the development of increasingly large, permanent settlements, so far as to transforming them into real ‘cities’ (see the Thematic Bibliography for further studies on this topic). The ways in which early communities could supply water were basically three: a) basic rainwater collecting; b) the interception of groundwater; c) the use of river and stream waters by means of canalisation systems. As for the Pre- and Protohistoric periods, the possibility 10

The Mesopotamian context

Figure 9: Clay tablet illustrating the map of an irrigation system to the west of the Euphrates, with indications of length, width and depths of the canals. Mesopotamia, c. 17th century BC. Clay, 9.5 × 12 cm. The Schøyen Collection, n. MS 3196.

of recognising the archaeological traces of these structures is unfortunately very limited (however, see the traces of the so-called ‘water holes’, recognised in some Neolithic sites in northern Mesopotamia, described in Wilkinson, Tucker 1995: 45-52). An analysis of the structures and devices used for these purposed is detailed on pages 81-82 and 114-115). Urbanisation and city planning From the time irrigation systems were developed increasingly larger areas were exploited for agricultural purposes and settlements grew in their dimensions and social tissues. As for building techniques, all turned on two main factors. First, growing communities, and ever more complex administrations required suitable buildings, and large and organised settlements. At the end of the 4th millennium BC, this process resulted in the birth of the first ‘cities’ in southern Mesopotamia. Second, the needs of agricultural practices fostered the development of land-surveying techniques to optimise the management of cultivated fields. The techniques and methods for topographic registration are prerequisites for the development of any architectural project. 11

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 10: Shadappum. Plan of the Old-Babylonian settlement, c. 19th century BC.

As far as urbanisation is concerned, an essential introductory remark needs to be made in terms of the very definition of ‘city’. This is a huge topic, and, at this point, we may consider it only in so far as it concerns building activities. In a broad sense, the city itself can be considered the result of a continued and multi-faceted building activity. Actually, it is not easy to set a precise limit between a city and a smaller settlement, such as a village. It is now commonly accepted that more simultaneous attributes are necessary to define a settlement as a city, i.e. (and just to mention the main features) the existence of a city-wall enclosure; a certain degree in the organisation of the space within the settlement; the presence of dwellings and public buildings. Also, the size of the settled area, as well as the estimated population, play a role, although no absolute benchmarks for such characteristics can be fixed. Finally, the city is characterised by a stratified society and work specialisation (within the huge bibliography on this subject, see in particular Van de Mieroop 1997; Novák 1999: 39-63). It is not easy to recognise all of these above features together in an ancient Mesopotamian site. There are few sites where extensive excavations have allowed us to recognise the characteristics of a whole ancient settlement (Figure 10). Furthermore, the transition from village to city was, as a rule, gradual and not easy at all to identify by the archaeologist. Finally, it should be born 12

The Mesopotamian context

in mind that some categories for us were not the same in antiquity. For instance, there are no precise Sumerian words for ‘village’ and ‘city’, and the sumerogram URU simply refers to any permanent settlement. Actually, the difference between ‘temporary’ and ‘permanent’ seems to have been the most significant feature in defining settlements (see Oates, J. 1983: 81, on ‘early but unconscious urbanism’). Furthermore, the city is closely linked to the agricultural exploitation of the territory, even though not dependent on it. Agriculture and urbanisation are two connected phenomena, and this is especially true for southern Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC. However, the development of the city does not necessarily rely on the growth of agriculture (for instance, the introduction of agriculture in continental Europe during the Neolithic seems not to have had the same effects on urbanisation processes as those in Mesopotamia ‒ Wright 2000: 40). The main impulse for the birth and development of the ancient Near Eastern city seems to have been the need to concentrate in a single site more resources, goods, skills and competences useful for managing a context different from the one in which the first sedentary settlements arose. Great collective efforts allowed the production of surpluses of certain goods – and to seek elsewhere for what they lacked. As far as building activities were concerned, the most significant innovations characterising the transition from village to city are those related to the construction of large and monumental buildings, as well as to the design and organisation of the ‘space’ of the total settlement, according to the different functions performed. A clear and detailed picture of the development of the city is still far from being mapped. We still miss many of the intermediate developmental steps that separate Sumerian Uruk in the late 4th millennium BC from the Chaldean Babylon of the 5th century BC – to quote but two examples poles apart. There is, also, still too little evidence of the various smaller settlements, villages and hamlets that gravitated towards the main cities, according to settlement patterns that surely changed – depending on the regions and different periods. Despite the many researches carried out over recent decades, especially in the field of landscape archaeology, we still have a long way to travel before fully understanding the complex phenomenon of ancient Near Eastern urbanisation. Ancient cartography, topography and surveying The cultivation of increasingly larger areas in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC initiated the development of skills in measuring and bi-dimensional graphic representation of plots of land. From this point of view, the early methods of land surveying represented a significant advance in terms of the development of all those methods of calculation and geometric representation that are fundamental for the realisation of any advanced building project. The archaeological evidence indicates that, at least from the 3rd millennium BC, all the basic notions for the graphic representation of a building were already known. Plans and prospects could be represented with ‘realistic’ renderings, with attention to measurements and details, and consistency in proportions, distances and orientations. Also graphic symbols could be used, as well as written captions, to better display information and details of the represented structure (for instance the thickness of walls, the number and position of openings, as well as information on dimensions and room function). A significant level of documentation exists, especially as far as reproductions of plans and façades of single buildings are concerned, while a few documents reproduce settlement plans and maps. A good example of map is a 3rdmillennium BC clay tablet from Nuzi (Figure 11), showing two ranges of hills and the rivers 13

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 11: The so-called ‘Nuzi Map’. Nuzi, second half of the 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 7.6 × 6.5 cm. Semitic Museum, Cambridge MA, n. 4172.

they flank: some symbols indicate the cities along the rivers and beyond the hills, while some cuneiform signs indicate plots of land dedicated to cultivation (BASOR 1931). The graphic representation of a city plan can be seen in the so-called ‘Nippur Map’ (Figure 12), in which the different main buildings and functional areas of Nippur in the 2nd millennium BC are clearly drawn and described (Hilprecht 1903a: 518; Fisher 1905: 10-15; Gibson 1993: 4, footnote 6).

Figure 12: Clay tablet with the map of the city of Nippur. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Clay, 21.5 × 17 cm.

14

The Mesopotamian context

Figure 13: The so-called ‘Nippur cubit’. Nippur, mid 2nd millennium BC. Copper alloy, length 110.35 cm. Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

A further fundamental indicator of the development of an advanced architecture is the application of measurement systems that are precise and shared. This goal was certainly achieved at least as early as the end of the 4th millennium BC. The first phase, before starting construction, was to plot the building plan on the ground, realising geometric shapes (mainly rectangles, trapezoids and triangles), with the use of ropes and stakes (Kubba 1987: figs. 229230; Sauvage 1998a: 75). The so-called ‘Nippur Cubit’ is one of the most significant examples of ancient Mesopotamian measurement instruments (Figure 13). It consists of a copper alloy, bar, dating to around the mid 3rd millennium BC. Its length is 110.35 cm and with a weight of 41.5 kg. It is divided in seven parts (a-g in the figure) by indentations that seem to match 15, 4, 12, 14, 4, 3 and 12 ‘fingers’, for a total of 64. Some deeper indentations distinguish three main sections. Actually, the precise meaning of this division is uncertain, but it is clear that the cubit was a measurement instrument, whose existence is also attested in the cuneiform sources (Powell 1990: 462). It seems that several metric systems existed in Mesopotamia, depending on different regions and periods. The most common linear unit was the ‘cubit’ (Sumerian kùš, Akkadian ammatu) – the length from the elbow to fingertips. The standard Babylonian cubit was about 49.5 cm, but many variants existed, with also multiples and sub-multiples. There were also units dedicated to areas and surfaces, such as the Sumerian šar, that was likely a square, the length of which corresponded to a certain measurement unit, e.g. 1 nindan (see the Thematic Bibliography for references on metrology). Knowledge of geometry was clearly well advanced. For example, the so-called ‘Pithagorean theorem’ was known in Mesopotamia already in the 2nd millennium BC: a clay tablet from Shadappum, dating to around the 18th century BC, reproduces a land survey exercise, based on the application of the right-angled triangle for dividing an area into similar parts (Figure 14: see Basmachi 1976: 114 and 401 for a detailed description of this document). The capacity to reproduce right-angled triangles on the ground was fundamental for building design as it allowed workers to plot easily 90° angles, by means only of simple ropes and stakes. A very good example of the application of such methods can be found in a clay tablet from Girsu, dating to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC (Figure 15). The land of the ancient city of Dungi is represented on the tablet: its surface can be estimated at about 10 ha, and is plotted in parts that correspond to geometric shapes. Land surveyors divided the land into rectangular areas, and adapted the irregular parts to right-angled triangles.

15

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 14: Clay tablet with an exercise of geometry. Shadappum, c. 19th century BC. Clay, height. c. 10 cm. Baghdad Museum, n. 55357.

Figure 15: Clay tablet with agronomic measurements. Girsu, c. 18th century BC.

Commissioners, designers and builders The above-mentioned knowledge in geometry and metrology allowed ancient Mesopotamian builders to realise challenging construction projects, both single buildings and infrastructures. It implies the development of specialised professionals, such as commissioners, designers and builders, at least since the late 4th millennium BC. Unfortunately, we have very scanty information useful to reconstruct the existing professional profiles, nor do we know the names 16

The Mesopotamian context

of any architect (compared to certain ancient Egyptian architects, such as the well-known Imhotep, for example, who built the Djoser funerary complex at Saqqara at some point in the Third Dynasty). Even though specialised technicians, architects and engineers certainly existed, all monumental buildings were considered as being realised by the king, i.e. the commissioner (Leick 1988: 18; Gruben 1994: 51-52). We know some terms used to define technicians involved in the construction process, but not always their exact competence: for example, the term šassukku, as quoted in some 3rdmillennium BC cuneiform sources, has been translated in slightly different ways: ‘landregistrar’ (D.J. Wiseman); ‘field director’ (A. Goetze), even ‘Kadaster Direktor’ (H. von Soden) (Wiseman 1972: 146). However, the individual was certainly a specialised technician, capable of carrying out complex calculations and designing the plans of the buildings under construction. The same uncertainty over the definition of the competences characterises other terms, e.g. the Sumerian šidim (Akkadian ittinu): it seems possible to translate the role as both ‘architect’ and ‘site manager’ (Sauvage 1998b: 61). At Girsu, in the 3rd millennium BC, the term saĝ-TUN3 must identify a sort of land-recorder, who performed field measurements (Alivernini 2014). In any event, it must be pointed out that our vision of the building process depends on the current model as defined at the end of the 19th century, a time when all productive processes were specialised. Today, there are no longer designers who develop a whole project in its entirety, nor ‘handyman’ technicians working on site buildings. It must be taken into consideration that all this could have been standard practice in antiquity. The famous Louvre statue, ‘l’Architecte au plan’, dedicated by the king of Girsu Gudea to the god Ningirsu in the 22nd century BC is a good example of the celebration of the role of ‘builder king’ (Figure 16): Gudea is represented seated, with a tablet on his knees. The plan of the temple

Figure 16: Gudea statue B, the so-called ‘Architecte au plan’. To the right a detail of the plan of a temple. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Diorite, height 93 cm. Louvre Museum, object n. AO2.

17

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 17: Perforated stone slab with a relief of King Ur-Nanshe. The central perforation was probably intended to peg the slab to a wall. Lagash, 26th century BC. Limestone, height 39 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO 2344.

dedicated to Ningirsu is precisely drawn on the tablet, with several details, such as buttresses and wall recesses. In another similar statue, ‘l’architecte à la regle’, the king has a ruler and a tablet, devices used by the building designer (Bord, Mugnaioni 2002: 49 and 84). Other examples of the ‘builder king’ model can be found in the Ur-Nanshe votive relief (26th century BC), in which the king is carrying a basket of mud to mould the bricks of a temple under construction (Figure 17). The later Ur-Nammu stele (22nd/21st century BC) shows a seated god who holds the so-called ‘rod and ring’ symbols, almost unanimously considered as a coil of measuring cord and a yardstick, i.e. architect’s tools, here symbols of kingship (Figure 18). At a lower level, the king is represented carrying a set of builder’s tools. Other fragments of the same stele depict workers bringing baskets on their heads, climbing a ladder (Woolley 1974: pl. 43b). All these iconographic models can be found, with slight differences and variations, throughout Mesopotamian history, especially from the 4th to the 1st millennia BC. In particular, the act of carrying baskets of building materials on the head is recorded also in cuneiform sources. It testifies to the king’s participation in the building process, at least during the start of works (something like the modern custom of cornerstone-laying of a new architectural project, usually performed today by the local authorities). As an example, we can quote a text by Gudea (Cylinder A), in which construction of the Eninnu Temple is described: after a night spent of sacrifices and celebrations, the king enters the temple area with a basket of building material. He pours water into a brick mould, and adds honey, oils and scented essences; then, he adds the clay and shapes the brick (see Hurowitz 1992: 38-40 for an overview of the building activities recorded on Cylinder A). One of the best examples of documents on clay tablets concerning design and construction projects is the British Museum clay tablet BM38217, whose exact dating is uncertain, but not 18

The Mesopotamian context

Figure 18: Fragment of the so-called ‘Ur-Nammu stele’. Ur, 22nd-21st century BC. Limestone, height 97 cm. Penn Museum, n. B16676.14.

earlier than the 6th century BC (Figure 19a). The tablet reproduces a six- or seven-storeyed ziggurat, with cuneiform captions indicating measures and openings (Wiseman 1972: 142). It is unclear whether it is the representation of an actual building or a theoretical exercise. Recently it has been suggested that a whole ziggurat is not being represented, only a staircase to the first level (Keetman 2011). The typology of the represented buildings can be identified in some other documents: a good example is the temple cella clearly recognisable in a tablet published in the same essay by D.J. Wiseman dealing with the above-mentioned ziggurat (Figure 19b). A further noteworthy example is a 3rd-millennium BC tablet from Eshnunna that reproduces a building plan on both sides (Figure 20). The archaeologists who published the document suggested that the two representations are ‘evidently variations of a single type’ (Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: 147). However, it is also possible that they are representations of two levels of the same building. It is remarkable that the building’s outside perimeter perfectly fits the tablet’s borders, meaning that the tablet was realised based on the scheduled drawing of an actual building project – otherwise, the drawing was realised based on the available tablet. In this case, it is likely that the plan is a theoretical exercise, not necessarily related to a real construction. It must be pointed out that the plan type represented, i.e. described by the archaeologists who published the document as a ‘fully flanked main room type’, is not common in the structures excavated, apart for an isolated case (House XXV, lev. Va ‒ Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: 147). 19

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 19a: A ziggurat (or part of one) on a cuneiform tablet. Probably from Babylon, c. 6th century BC. Clay, 6.35 × 5.08 cm. The British Museum, n. 38217; 19b: A temple on a cuneiform tablet. Mesopotamia (unknown provenance), first half of the 2nd millennium BC. Clay, 11.4 × 8.12 cm. The British Museum, n. 132254.

On the whole, these and several other documents of the same type demonstrate that a sophisticated canon of building activity was developed already in the late 4th millennium BC, thanks to specialised craftsmen who were able to apply advanced mathematical formulae and geometric patterns. Ancient building crafts and technology The lack of information about the architects and craftsmen who actually realised ancient buildings is strictly related also to a significant characteristic of the Mesopotamian way of thinking about technological innovation: techniques and instruments were always considered archetypal, and they were donated by gods to men in a definitive and perfect form. Instruments were considered as unchangeable and unalterable, and rules on their use should be adhered to in order to avoid disorder and chaos. Figure 20: Two house-plans on a clay tablet. Eshnunna, 24th-22nd century BC. Clay, length c. 10 cm. Tell Asmar excavation n. AS 33:649.

The iconography does not really help: there are no significant representations illustrating activities at the worksite (as we have from 20

The Mesopotamian context

Egyptian contexts). The few examples – e.g. the above-mentioned Ur-Nammu stele, where some workmen climb ladders, carrying baskets on their heads – offer little in the way of analysis. Finally, the already mentioned ‘filter’ operated by the scribes (see page 4) further hampers our efforts. As a rule, scribes were not skilled in the activities about which they were writing, and generally they did not look at the issue of using precise technical terminology (Powell 1995: 1945). To better understand the degree of technological competences of the Mesopotamian builders, it is useful to appraise their capability to realise machines and instruments to be used on site. In the Greek and Roman world, the term ‘simple machines’ indicated all those elementary devices that can change the direction or magnitude of a force, and that can be used for assembling more complex machines. They are, basically, the lever, the inclined plane, the wedge, the wheel, and the screw (Figure 21 – on this subject, see in particular Scheidegger 1994c). The first three machines were surely known in Mesopotamia already during the Protoliterate period: as for the lever, it is important to emphasise its use in an irrigation device that is still commonly used in North Africa and the Near East, i.e. the shaduf, an upright frame on which a long pole is suspended; a bucket or basket is attached to the pole’s long end, enabling it to distribute the water, while a weight (generally a stone) is attached to the short end, acting as the lever’s counterpoise (Wolk 2009). The contraption is used to lift water, from a river or pond, onto land or into another body of water, thanks to an easy swinging and lifting motion (it has been observed that a single man can move up to 2500 l per day ‒ Singer, Holmyard, Hall et al. 1954: 525). As far as building activities are concerned, the lever, inclined plane and wedge, in particular, were fundamental for quarrying and moving stones (Figure 22). The wheel cannot properly be described as an ‘invention’ as such, as came about as the result of imitating round objects in nature (for instance, a tree trunk naturally works as a roller). The use of the wheel as a locomotion element dates from at least the Figure 21: Simple machines: a) lever; b) inclined plane; c) 4th millennium BC, both in the wedge; d) wheel; 5) screw. 21

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 22: Transporting a lamassu on a sledge, represented on an Assyrian relief: workers bring saws, hatchets, picks and shovels. Nineveh, 7th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124823.

Near East and Europe (Scheidegger 1994c: 193, fig. 21). It is well known that the wheel itself had very little influence on the development of road transport until the 2nd millennium BC, when horse traction and the wire-spoked wheel were introduced. Previously, wheels used for transport vehicles were made of solid pieces of wood, and chariots were towed by oxen and onagers, such as the ones portrayed in the well-known ‘Standard of Ur’ (Figure 23; see also the exceptionally well-preserved examples, dating to the mid 2nd millennium BC, held in the Erevan Museum and published in Grigorian 2007: 20). It is likely that the introduction of the wire-spoked wheel (Figure 24) dates to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. It is also worthy of note that, until the late 1st millennium BC, the road system rarely included driveways, and transports were generally performed on foot, or using waterways (see Moorey 1994: 6-10 on the main commercial routes, and pages 37-38 and 42-43 in this volume, for the transportation of building materials). And yet the wheel, as a simple machine, was fundamental, from the late 4th millennium BC, as a result of its application to more complex devices: in terms of building techniques an obvious case is the pulley, which was used at least since the early 1st millennium BC, as demonstrated by its representation on an Assyrian relief of the 9th century BC (British Museum n. WA118906; see a representation in Curtis, Reade 1995: 46-47). The question of the screw is more complex: it is a cylinder on which a sort of inclined plane is fixed to form a helical ridge. Traditionally, its invention is associated to Archimedes of 22

The Mesopotamian context

Figure 23: Chariot with solid wheels, represented on the so-called ‘Standard of Ur’. Ur, mid 3rd millennium BC. Inlaid in shell, red limestone, lapis lazuli, bitumen; total length 50.4 cm.

Figure 24: Chariot with spoked wheels carved on the ‘Balawat Gates’. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124657.

Syracuse (c. 287-212 BC), and it is thus considered a Hellenistic innovation. Actually, the helical profile was known and reproduced at least from the 2nd millennium BC (i.e. see the ceramic stand in Figure 25 and the columns in Figure 73). In the Hellenistic and Classical ages, the screw was used as a device, especially for transporting water: the so-called ‘Archimedes screw’, also known as the screw pump, which consisted of a cylindrical shaft with a helical external surface inside a hollow pipe. It was positioned obliquely, and could be turned by a windmill, animals, or manual labour. When the shaft turned, the water was pushed from the bottom to the top of the tube, thanks to its helicoidal profile, until it poured out from the tube. It is possible that a similar device was used at the time of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, in the 7th century BC, for the irrigation of the wondrous ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ (actually to be identified in Nineveh, according to this hypothesis). (We will return to this issue in the section dedicated to water management infrastructures – see page 114).

23

Building between the Two Rivers

Figure 25: The helical screw profile in a pottery stand from Haradum. First half of the 2nd millennium BC.

24

Building materials Building materials: general characteristics Technical expertise in the properties and behaviours of building material is fundamental for understanding any architectural remains, and they demand study and experience. This knowhow cannot be easily gained by students within a standard degree in archaeology, as it lies within the realm of the education of architects and engineers. However, basic knowledge about the physical properties of building materials, and their behaviour under stress and pressure, is key to understanding the choices taken by ancient architects, as well as to evaluate fully the processes of decay and destruction that have determined the current state of a monument. The building materials can be firstly categorised based on their characteristics, according to intended use. The choice of one material rather than another depends on various factors: especially in ancient (and modern pre-industrial) times, the actual availability of raw materials in the territory was pivotal, as well as the technical capability to work and shape them, which was something that depended largely on the level of technological sophistication of the instruments and tools in use. Furthermore, the physical properties of the materials and their response to loads, stresses and strains, when used for building purposes, were relevant to the architect’s choice. As far as this last issue is concerned, it was important to evaluate the material’s response to compressive and extensional strains, as well as resistance to cutting, i.e. the process that make the fibres of a solid form flow, causing a detachment, and, to a certain extent, a deformation (Figure 26). For example, the earth withstands well enough to compression, but little or nothing to extensional strains, contrary to stone. Finally, an important characteristic of building materials concerns their stiffness and elasticity, meaning the capacity to recover its original shape once the strains have released: wood, for example, is a material characterised by its considerable elasticity. We may now go on to discuss the principal characteristics of the most common building materials used in ancient Mesopotamia.

Figure 26a-c: The effects of cut (a), compression (b) and tension (c) on stone.

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Building between the Two Rivers

Earth architecture Mesopotamia is associated as a rule with earth architecture. In Genesis, the Babylonians are characterised by their custom of making bricks (Genesis 11: 3-4: ‘… and they said one to another: Go to, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly!’). The greater part of Mesopotamian architecture is made from clays, tempered with straw and other binding agents, and used to shape various building elements: in the technical jargon, this is known as ‘earth architecture’. It is possible to recognise development in the techniques for building in earth, through two main production stages, namely: a) a first phase, during the earliest Prehistoric times, when raw materials were used in their natural state; b) and a later phase, when materials were manipulated and processed as a rule (Wright 2000: 2). A fundamental change occurred between the two phases: Neolithic builders became aware that the raw materials they had were insufficient to meet their building, and thus they experimented with new methods for manipulating and adapting the materials to their needs, which meant real innovation and technological processes. The production chain necessarily starts with the formation of soils, and rock crushing and transformation, due to environmental factors (mainly sun effects and temperature conditions). This leads to the formation of mixtures of clay, iron oxides and soluble salts, which, thanks to the presence of flora and fauna, convert into humus. In rainy climates, soluble minerals tend to move downwards, while in dry climates they tend to move to the surface, due to the effects of evaporation (see Houben, Guillaud 1994: 19 for a detailed description of the process of soil formation). This process significantly contributes to the great differentiation of soils and clays, which results in a wide range of clay-products used for building purposes. These differ from each other also according to the adopted mixtures of components, drying procedures, and firing methods. At times the terminology for indicating such products is ambiguous, fostering an uncertainty of the descriptions found in literature. A short list of the main products is given below. Tauf. This is a mixture of clay, straw, and/or other mineral binding agents (e.g. sand), shaped by hand without moulds or formworks, and used for realising the scheduled structure by means of simple horizontal rows of material. Pisé. This term comes from the French pisé de terre – ‘pressed earth’. It consists of clay mixed with different materials (mainly gravel and grits) and pressed in formworks (Figure 27). As in the case of tauf, pisé products need to be shaped at the same time as the walls are erected (see Wright 1985: fig. 297 for an effective illustration of the building process of elevation of a wall in tauf or pisé). Occasionally tauf and pisé take on the same meaning and are used as synonyms. It is worth mentioning that both tauf and pisé may be hard to recognise in archaeological contexts, and their role in Mesopotamian architecture may therefore be underestimated (Aurenche 1981b: 114-116; Moorey 1994: 303). Adobe. This term is a Spanish loanword from the Arabic at-Taub, used mainly in regions of the western Mediterranean, and is actually a synonym for sun-dried brick, composed of clay, straw, and possibly other binding materials, and then shaped in a wooden or metal mould (Figure 28). Wattle-and-daub. This English term is used to generically indicate all those structures in which a wooden ‘wattle’ is ‘daubed’ with a layer of tempered clay. It corresponds to the French torchis (Figure 29). 26

Building materials

Figure 27: Earth architecture methods: pisé. Construction of a pisé wall at Alfundão, Portugal.

Figure 28: Earth architecture methods: adobe. A wooden form is placed over adobe mixture in making bricks, Chamisal, New Mexico, 1940.

Figure 29: Earth architecture methods: wattle-and-daub. Structure in the Indian Mission Village of Bac, House No. 4, Tucson, Pima County, AZ, c. 1933.

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Figure 30: Earth architecture methods: cob. An external wall from a building in Macerata (Italy) reveals the presence of cob bricks covered by straw.

Other English terms used for describing building techniques and materials of ‘earth architecture’ include ‘rammed earth’, ‘straw-clay’ (or ‘clay-straw’) and ‘cob’, but they are rarely used in the vocabulary linked to Mesopotamian archaeology. Rammed earth is used for describing a construction technique in which the earth is pressed in a work-form; straw-clay indicates a mixture of straw and clay, in which clay is actually the binding agent, and which is generally used to infill a wooden frame; the cob technique consists of making clay balls which are pressed together by hand to form lumps for use (Figure 30). The most characteristic product in earth architecture is the mud-brick, either sun-dried, halffired, or fired. The production of sun-dried mud-bricks started during the Neolithic, but bricks began to be widely attested from the Hassuna and Halaf periods. The earliest certain fired bricks date back to the Protoliterate period (see Moorey 1994: 304-307 for a list of the earliest occurrences from excavations). A mud-brick is composed of clay tempered with other elements. In ancient Mesopotamia, straw was the principal material used to temper clay, but minerals could also be used (in some cases, also other substances could be added, even for non-functional (ritual) purposes, as reported in cuneiform sources: for instance, oil and honey ‒ Moorey 1994: 305). Fired bricks are anhydrous and therefore no longer plastic: evaporation occurs just over 100°C, but firing is complete only between 800°C and 1200°C. Even in case of firing, preliminary drying is necessary to avoid deformations due to the stress induced by high temperatures on the still too-humid clay. Such a drying phase can vary, depending on the characteristics of the material and environmental conditions – however, at least a couple of days are necessary to complete such a process. Bricks fired between 500°C and 700°C can be considered as half-fired, while a good firing occurs between 800°C and 1200°C (above 1200°C the vitrification effect and risk of breaks significantly 28

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increase, especially in ancient kilns). It should be noted that it can be hard to distinguish at a glance a half-fired brick from a fired one, unless laboratory analyses are performed. The colour of a brick can give a clue as to its firing temperature: an intense red generally indicates a firing of 800°C/900°C, while an orange/yellow colour arises at around 900°C; however, the colour effect also depends on the chemical composition of the bricks, as well as particular firing conditions in the kiln, therefore it cannot be considered as a reliable indicator. The brick represents a real leap forward compared to tauf/pisé materials, whereby the manufacturing of the material coincided with the building of the whole structure. On the contrary, brick represents a pre-cast component used for building the complete structure. This brought many benefits to ancient builders: first, the building process could be continuous, with no need to wait for each horizontal row of tauf/pisé to dry (a row of tauf/pisé needed to be well dried before serving as a base for an upper row). Furthermore, the use of pre-cast components allowed buildings to be more stable; and the use of moulds – widely attested already during the Protoliterate period – improved the regularity and consistency of the whole structure. A further step forward in building techniques was given by the development of methods for firing bricks. As mentioned previously, brick becomes an undeformable component after losing all its water, and this requires significant temperatures to be achieved. These techniques were known almost everywhere in the Near East since the Protoliterate period (Moorey 1994: 307). Environmental conditions played an important role in making the mud-brick so common and popular in Mesopotamia: difficulties in accessing other building materials, such as stone or wood (especially in the southern regions), as well as the abundance of available clays and straw, certainly contributed to its success. However, the mud-brick should not necessarily be interpreted as a fallback, a ‘virtue made of necessity’, but rather it represents a valid technical solution which – as well as having some actual disadvantages compared to more durable materials such as stone – affording undoubted advantages especially in terms of a) economy, b) workability, c) excellent response to thermal dispersion and, in general, d) good adaptability to the different needs of the design of even complex works. These characteristics explain the fact that, even today, the tradition of earth architecture continues in many parts of the world. The main drawback to earth architecture is its low capacity to withstand heavy loads. Sundried mud-brick, especially when used in load-bearing elements (e.g. pillars, corners), affects the static efficiency of the building. It is likely that the solutions to such statics problems were not systematically approached by Mesopotamian architects, but by means of case-by-case empirical adjustments. Another drawback concerns the fragility and perishability of brick. However, conservation works and refurbishments can be effective, and operatively and economically sustainable, thereby making the construction project worthwhile and cost-effective. As far as the production of bricks is concerned, we lack consistent data to reconstruct the whole production process through the different periods of Mesopotamian history. It is likely that the methods for supplying clay in antiquity were the same across the whole Mediterranean basin. In most cases the clay was quarried in open-air caves, pits, or by cuttings in hill slopes. In continental Europe, extraction was carried out preferably in autumn and winter, to allow 29

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the rains and freeze/thaw cycles to break up the clods. Conversely, in the southern, milder regions, extraction was mainly undertaken in summer, with the sun quickly drying the clods. Consequently the clods could easily absorb water during the subsequent treatment of the clay (Aurenche 1981b: 48-49; Moorey 1994: 304-305 in particular). Cuneiform sources provide useful information on some aspects of brick production. Bricks were preferably manufactured in spring (May-June), after the early rains, meaning that water, as well as straw and chaff, were widely available. Summer (July-August) was probably the best period for building the structure, the dry climate making the work easier, especially the laying of foundations (Moorey 1994: 304-305). At least for the Neo-Sumerian period, the Gershana archive (see page 5) gives us interesting information: the sun-dried bricks were made in a quarry outside the city wall, near a watercourse. The texts also show that the manufacturing standard was about 240 bricks per day, per worker (considering manufacturing as the complete process of preparing the earth mixture, moulding, and most likely the transport of the product to the worksite ‒ Sauvage 2011a: 44). Mesopotamian iconographic sources, however, provide scanty information, but we can usefully look at the representations in the art of neighbouring regions, Egypt for example, where it is likely that brick production did not differ substantially from Mesopotamian methods (e.g. the well-known representation of workers manufacturing mud-bricks in the paintings of the Tomb di Rekh-mi-re’ ‒ Davies de Garis 1943: 58). To this author’s knowledge, no Mesopotamian kiln surely dedicated to brick firing is known thus far: some structures excavated in Nuzi (Starr 1937: 239) and Tutub (Frankfort, Jacobsen, Preusser 1932: 76) may have been used for firing bricks, but their precise function still remains uncertain (Sauvage 1988: 36, and pages 111-113 in this volume). Bricks changed their size and shape throughout all of Mesopotamian history. This typological variety results in making them very useful chronological indicators. This is valid both in terms of absolute chronology, where any brick type is known as characteristic of a certain period and/or region, and for relative chronology, where different brick types may correspond to different construction phases of a stratigraphic sequence of buildings, or even within a single long-standing building. The earliest Neolithic bricks were generally large in size, sometimes longer than 1 m, to the extent that it can be doubted whether they are true bricks or short walls, made on the spot with a single clay block. As soon as the use of moulds spread, there was an increasing tendency towards the standardisation of brick sizes. It is hard to recognise standardisation in sun-dried bricks because of their naturally irregular shape. However, it seems that a certain consistency and regularity in shape and dimensions existed from the Samarra period, but a significant standardisation of shapes and sizes in the production of fired bricks occurred in particular during the 2nd and 1st millennia BC (Moorey 1994: 308). The recording of brick size, shape, bond pattern, as well as stratigraphic analysis, is fundamental for understanding the construction history of the building under consideration. From this point of view, the situation of ancient Mesopotamia has still not been adequately studied, 30

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especially compared to the potential information it has to offer, but useful case-studies and catalogues exist: e.g. Uruk (Finkbeiner 1986), Khorsabad (Loud-Altman 1938: 13-14), Babylon (Koldewey 1932: 4), Tille Höyük (Blaylock 2016: 527-533), and Ur (Sauvage 1998b: 55-58). All these researches offer interesting clues. A fundamental essay on the history of brick in Mesopotamia was written by M. Sauvage (1998a), who singled out the main types and their evolution, from the Neolithic to the Achaemenian period. Detailed descriptions of the different types can be found in his work, and it is unnecessary to recap them here. Focusing on some major issues, it is noteworthy that a strong discontinuity in brick production is recognisable at the transition between the late 4th and early 3rd millennium BC. This is probably no coincidence, as new, large and monumental building projects were being undertaken in many city sites during this period. In this regard, Uruk provides an excellent showcase, especially in the so-called ‘E-anna’ district. U. Finkbeiner analytically described the various types of bricks used in the different phases of the history of E-anna (1986: 47-48 especially; see also the syntheses in Moorey 1994: 307; Sauvage 1998b: 111; Wright 2009: 241). According to the commonly used terminology, we can distinguish four main brick types: a) riemchen; b) patzen; c) riemchen-like; and d) planoconvex. The earliest riemchen bricks were found in levels VII/VI, and became most popular in level IV, before decreasing in later levels; they were long parallelepipeds (between 15 and 30 cm) with squared ends. The small brick size favoured handling (one brick could be taken in one hand, a great advantage during laying), and its square section allowed it to be easily used in all parts of the structure: in the long walls, as well corners, etc. Above all, this brick had a high durability having been kiln fired. As a consequence of this type of firing, it was also an expensive product compared to the traditional sun-dried brick, and it was generally therefore not used for the building of the whole structure, but limited to its critical points: corners and other load-bearing elements, as well as all those sections that had to resist a particular stress. Patzen bricks were used in E-anna’s levels V-III: they were rectangular, with varying sizes ranging from 80 × 40 × 14/16 cm in level V, to 40 × 20 × 8 in level III. This brick was used mainly for large terraces and other great surface structures common in monumental building zones of Sumerian cities. In level III, the so-called riemchen-like bricks were also used (riemchen-nahe in Heinrich 1935: 10), which are similar to the riemchen type, but less regular and standardised, and, generally, a little bit wider than they are high. Finally, in level I/7, the so-called ‘plano-convex’ brick appeared (not to be confused with the ‘plano-convex’ used in the literature for describing the Pre-Pottery Neolithic bricks found in Palestine ‒ Reich 1992: 6). This brick is typical of the Early Dynastic period, between c. 2900 and 2350 BC. It was a large, fired brick, whose upper surface was uneven and slightly round. The prevailing opinion is that the brick was made with a mould, without levelling the upper surface, but some scholars have suggested that it was totally hand-made (Tunca 1984: 123). Compared with the riemchen brick, it was actually less effective in terms of solidity and precision. Therefore, it may seem that it represents some sort of backwards step in the development of building techniques. However, the plano-convex brick finds its justification, inasmuch as it was very inexpensive (because of the short time needed to shape it), and really flexible during the bricklaying phase: any mistake in the alignment of the bricks could easily be corrected – by tilting the bricks. The consequent problems of statics could be overcome by restricting the use of plano-convex bricks to the long, and not load-bearing, walls, as well as by using regular, squared bricks for corners and pillars. P. Delougaz (1933: 20-28) was 31

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Figure 31: Example of a masonry bond with plano-convex bricks.

the first scholar to discuss in depth the method of building using plano-convex bricks, and his reconstruction of the building process is still convincing: first, the load-bearing elements were constructed with regular (or, less frequently, plano-convex) bricks, then the interconnecting walls were realised. The latter were generally built with the typical herringbone pattern, in which tilted plano-convex bricks were placed in rows in alternate directions, resulting in a sort of zig-zag pattern (Figure 31). Such a bond increased the speed of execution, surely a major factor in the successful planning of large monumental building projects, such as those at the main Mesopotamian sites during the Early Dynastic period (Sauvage 1998a: 117). The plano-convex brick can therefore be considered as an improvement in terms of innovation technology, as it responded to a requirement that was then crucial, namely the saving in construction time. As mentioned above, many other types of bricks can be singled out within the long Mesopotamian history. The previously quoted essay by M. Sauvage (1998a) remains the best reference work for studying this subject further. Here, a few points should be highlighted. First of all, it is noteworthy that, on the whole, Mesopotamian brick production was characterised by an ever-increasing standardisation (Sauvage 1998a: 153). This is recognisable from the Samarra period, but is clearly evident from the late 3rd millennium BC, when it seems to be in step with a general reduction in brick size. The latter can be explained both because of the increasing demand for bricks, and with the search for even more effective products in terms of their use by the bricklayers. From the late 3rd millennium BC onwards, bricks tended to have a rectangular section, at least until the end of the 2nd millennium BC, when a squared brick, with a side length of c. 30-40 cm, began to be produced. Especially during the Neo-Sumerian period, in central and southern Mesopotamia, the size ratio 1:2:3 became very common. However, it must be stressed that despite such standardisation processes many variants continued (for instance, during the Neo-Assyrian period, many Assyrian kings adopted a customised brick type to be used in monumental buildings). Another important issue to be stressed is the ever-increasing attention paid by Mesopotamian architects and bricklayers to the selection of bricks types based on the actual needs of the building, or even specific parts of the building. As would be expected, monumental buildings were built with bricks of generally better quality (fired and regularly shaped) than those used for domestic architecture (e.g. the Akkadian term zarinnum, used for indicating bricks of substandard quality ‒ Sauvage 1998a: 18). Both the scheduled function of the desired architectural element and its statics determined the brick choice within a single building: in particular, sun-dried bricks continued to be used where they were not needed for statics requirements, together with fired bricks, the use of which was often limited to load-bearing elements and those sections that had to resist water and other stressors. 32

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Figure 32a: Moulded bricks used for column bases, partially restored, with cuneiform inscriptions dedicated to Gudea. Girsu, 22nd century BC. Clay, base length 180 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO388; 32b: Detail of the mud-brick decoration of the Innin Temple. Uruk, 15th century BC. Fired bricks, height of the whole panel 205 cm. Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum, n. VA 10983.

From the Ubaid period onwards we find examples of ‘moulded’ bricks, formed into special shapes before firing, both for functional and decorative purposes. A good example of functional moulded bricks is given by the curved-profile bricks used for constructing pillars and columns (Figure 32a). On occasion the intent of the moulded profile was purely decorative; the use of these bricks to form figures in relief flourished during the Kassite period, and the best known example is the temple for the Goddess Inanna, built by Karaindah at Uruk in the 15th century BC (Figure 32b): the outside walls were decorated with male and female deities, with ‘flowing vases’ in their hands, and they were linked by streams of water flowing from vases. This complex decorative motif was possible thanks to the use of moulded bricks, which were forerunners of the glazed forms, typical of Neo-Babylonian architecture in the mid 1st millennium BC (pages 47-50). In the case of the Inanna Temple, it has been suggested that a model, possibly in ceramic, was used for realising a negative mould; this was then divided and used to shape the bricks before firing (Wright 2000: fig. 173). Furthermore, bricks can bear various impressed and incised motifs (Figure 33). In many cases it is likely that marks may have been accidentally and unintentionally left during the brick-making process. Sometimes these marks seem to have been systematically repeated on different bricks, and therefore they may have a functional explanation, although not always easy to understand. This is the case with the bricks impressed with finger marks that can be found, from the Neolithic to the Early Dynastic period, all over a large area, ranging from Palestine (e.g. Jericho, Tell Aswad) to Iran (Sauvage 1998a: 40-41). In southern Mesopotamia they are particularly frequent in the so-called Choga Mami Transitional and Ubaid (late 6th to 5th millennium BC) chronological phases. The impressions may have different profiles, straight lines or curved, to form depressions on the brick surfaces. They were probably used to allow better adherence of the binders. Of course, a completely different case is where the bricks have cuneiform impressions; these generally celebrate the building itself (Figure 34). In most examples, such impressions were 33

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Figure 33: Examples of marks on mud-bricks excavated at Bismaya, late 3rd millennium BC.

Figure 34: Mud-brick with cuneiform inscription. Southern Mesopotamia (exact provenance unknown), late 3rd millennium BC. Clay, 33 × 1 6 × 8 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 94051.

made using stamps, which are known from the Early Dynastic period (a very well-preserved example from Bismaya has been published in Wilson 2012: pl. 22). Stone Even though the most Mesopotamian architecture is made in earth, stone was also used for building purposes from early Prehistory. Its use was complementary and subsidiary to that of earth, and, in general, stone was limited only to specific parts of the buildings. It is noteworthy that several differences existed in terms of the stones used and working techniques, depending on the various regions and periods, and we do not have yet consistent information for the whole context. A detailed overall picture of the use of stone in Mesopotamian architecture is therefore still far from being achieved. A necessary premise concerns terminology. Geologists prefer the technical terms ‘rock’ and ‘mineral’ for indicating what in art and archaeology literature is commonly referred to as ‘stone’. Stone is also the most commonly used term in commercial industry (Goffer 2007: 26: ‘Mineral or rock that has been naturally or artificially broken, cut, or otherwise shaped to serve some human purpose is known as stone’; see also Bates, Jackson 1997, s.v. ‘stone’, and MIA 2016: 1). Sometimes, the use of the term ‘stone’ in the archaeological literature prevents a more precise description of the rock/mineral concerned. A certain inconsistency in the 34

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terminologies of different languages also contributes to some misleading interpretations (a good example is given when comparing the descriptions in different languages of what is termed ‘gypsum’ and ‘plaster’ in English ‒ Scheidegger 1994b: 68). Apart from these linguistic obstacles, it should be stressed that the archaeological reports and essays are not always precise in their analyses and descriptions of stones. For instance, gypsum and lime may not be easily discernible by eye, and misunderstandings sometimes occur, especially in less recent excavation reports. Finally, it must be noted that there is little evidence in iconographic and cuneiform sources in terms of the actual stones used, as well as the techniques and methods for supplying and working them. The above-mentioned ‘filter’ of the scribes (page 4), and the consequent trend to describe stones simply by their colour and appearance, or provenance, prevent us from obtaining accurate information. Our understanding of the use of stone in Mesopotamian architecture would surely benefit from greater attention: the essays by P.R.S. Moorey (1994: 335-347) and O. Aurenche (1981b: 11-21, especially) still remain fundamental reference works. However, a general picture of the whole topic, updated to include the results of researches carried out over the last decades, and comprehensive analyses of stone-supply methods, as well as the development and transmission of working techniques, would be well worth the effort. As for ancient Mesopotamia, what we call ‘stone’ generally corresponds either to igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Igneous rocks consist mainly of basalt and granite and are relatively rare, especially because their areas of supply are mainly outside Mesopotamia (Sinai, Arab Peninsula, and, to a less extent, Iran and Turkey). The most frequently used stones were sedimentary limestones, while schist and marble can be listed among the metamorphic forms. A stone that was frequently used in Mesopotamian architecture was gypsum, a mineral consisting mainly of calcium sulphate, formed during the evaporation of seawater and generally found in layered sedimentary deposits. A fine-grained and translucent variety of gypsum is alabaster. The use of the term alabaster in the archaeological literature is sometimes inaccurate, as it is also used to indicate what is actually a calcite. A noteworthy type of alabaster is the so-called Mosul marble, which was the material par excellence for Assyrian sculpture, it being very soft. It was not, therefore, ideal for building purposes, but very good for decoration thanks to its high workability. In this case, the use of the term marble is actually a misuse, as it should be reserved for those metamorphosed rocks capable of taking a polish (see Goffer 2007: 59-60 in particular, for an overview on the use of term ‘marble’ in archaeology). In terms of the use of stone in Mesopotamian architecture, it may be useful to attempt a reconstruction of the criterion followed in antiquity for selecting the stones to be used, the supply methods, and the working techniques. When deciding to use a certain stone for building purposes, in antiquity as well as today, an architect has to take some main issues into consideration: above all, the stone’s compressive strength, workability and cost-effectiveness. As for the statics, the actual resistance to flexion, cutting, impact, and friction also plays a role in the choice. The criteria concerning availability and cost-effectiveness are economic ones, and they are generally difficult to reconstruct for antiquity. In fact, we very rarely have adequate information on the precise economic context 35

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in which the building activity was performed, and the data on supply areas and techniques are very scanty. G.R.H. Wright (lastly 2000: 45) was probably the first scholar to contradict, in an argued manner, the common notion that stone was largely not used in Mesopotamia because of its scarce availability. Actually, the geological evidence demonstrates that there is a notable presence of stone, especially in the northern and eastern regions (especially when considering Assyria as part of Mesopotamia, in a broad sense). However, it is true that many deposits are at a greater depth, sometimes below groundwater, and they were therefore difficult to access with the technology available at that time. Very patchy information can be retrieved from the cuneiform sources concerning the supply of stone. An interesting exception is given by some inscriptions of Gudea, the Neo-Sumerian king (Pettinato 1972: 138-146: cylinder A, and statues B and D in particular), from which we know that the king mined the stone used for building projects in the region of the SyrianTurkish border. The stones were transported by river, via the Euphrates and Tigris, to Girsu. Some further information can be found in later documents, especially from the Neo-Assyrian period, but they are insufficient to reconstruct a clear overall picture of the supply process (Dunham 2001: 294; Wilkinson 2003: 62-64). It is conceivable that stone quarrying in Mesopotamia followed the same approach we recognise in other countries of the Mediterranean basin in antiquity. Thus it is likely therefore that quarrying took place preferably during the warmer months, when the high temperatures assisted the expulsion of natural water from the stone. A word of caution is needed, however, as this ancient, common practice, as well as that of leaving the stone to air dry for several months, might just be conjecture in terms of the Mesopotamian context, as we lack concrete information from cuneiform sources. As for the techniques for quarrying stone, we also have only sparse information on Mesopotamian practices. Very few quarries are known that were used prior to Hellenistic and Roman times, although it is likely that the same quarries continued to be used throughout the ages (Reade 1990: 43, with a note of a letter by H. Rawlinson concerning a visit to a quarry in the region of Jigan, today underwater after the Hamrin Dam construction). Most quarries were surely opencast, but we cannot exclude that some stones were extracted from underground galleries. In antiquity, the most common methods for quarrying stone from opencast quarries were based on making sections of rock collapse into blocks – a major disadvantage being a large production of wasted material – or by means of a controlled detachment of the stone blocks, using pickaxes, wedges, etc. A typical controlled quarrying practice, widespread over the whole ancient Mediterranean basin, involved using hammers and chisels to make a series of holes in the stone; wooden wedges were then inserted in these and the wedges soaked with water to make the wood expand; the stone would then split (for ancient quarrying practices, see Reich 1992: 3; Bessac 2008: figs. 75 and 83 especially). For building purposes, stone can be used as natural blocks – generally called ‘fieldstones’ – that have not been shaped in any special way, or only very roughly shaped (Reich 1992: 3). Of course, they can also be used after having been shaped in many different ways and with a variety of techniques. 36

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Figure 35: Examples of stone finishes, hand-worked with traditional tools in Northern Italy (province of Varese): chisel (a); punch (b); point (c); bush hammer (d); pick (e); toothed chisel (f).

It is likely that a preliminary roughing of the blocks would be made on the spot, immediately after quarrying (Mazzoni 1986-1987; Waelkens 1990), in order to make the transport easier and cost-effective. Toolmarks are key to helping us reconstruct stone-working techniques (Figure 35), but, unfortunately, they have only been studied so far in only a few cases. A useful resource on this topic has been provided by the renowned sculptor Peter Rockwell (1993), who analysed and categorised several building stones, according to their workability. It is surprising to learn that most of the more ‘soft’ stones (limestones, sandstone, tuff, etc.) can be worked with almost the same tools used for woodworking. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that different stones require totally different tools, according to their percussion response. For instance limestone and marble can be worked best using tools that allow the stone to be worked by means of oblique strokes to the surface, to avoid micro-cracks. Studies by J.-Cl. Bessac (1986; 2008), M. Noel (1965), and P. Varène (1974) on stone-working techniques in antiquity offer many clues for the analysis of the available remains from ancient Mesopotamia and the whole of the Near East. A good example of research into ancient Near Eastern toolmarks is that carried out by C. Nylander on the stones used in the buildings of Persepolis and Pasargade (Nylander 1965; 1970; 1990). The analysis demonstrated a long process for the shaping of the stones, with at least five steps, characterised by the use of different tools: trimming hammers, punches, chisels, rasps, and abrasives for polishing the surface. However, studies like Nylander’s are still rare in terms of ancient Mesopotamian stone-working, and a general overview still needs further surveys and studies (see the Thematic Bibliography here for a list of titles dealing with this subject; on the shaping and finishing of blocks see also pages 65-67). We have rather more information on the transport of stone, in particular for the 1st millennium BC in Assyria. It is to be imagined that specialised workers and tools existed for moving blocks from the quarries to the worksite, as well as for lifting them in place during the building phases. Assyrians sought available stone from all the countries they conquered. Especially from the reign of Sennacherib, in the 7th century BC, the cuneiform sources indicate that Assyrians paid great attention to different types of stone and their provenance (Reade 1990: 47). Many Assyrian reliefs depict the transport of stone sculptures from quarries to the worksites of 37

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temples and palaces. The relief from Sennacherib’s palace, reproduced here in figure 22, is an exemplary one: we can see that the transport of the sculpture (a lamassu) was based on the use of a lever that put pressure on a type of sledge the sculpture lay on. This sledge slid on wooden rollers and was pulled by teams of workers using ropes. The small drill-holes often found on many blocks used for building may be connected to the transport system; they were, perhaps, used for the insertion of pins, or similar tools, to make pulling easier. However, this remains a matter of conjecture, and one must not over simplify the process: in some cases, these holes can also be interpreted as means of fastening frames, or different applied elements (see Rossi 2003 for a preliminary overview of this subject, which merits greater study). As for the terrain, surfaces with low coefficients of friction allow the movement of large and heavy stone objects (Veragnoli 1996: 329), and thus there is no doubt that considerable attention had also to be paid to the routes selected for transporting the stones from the quarry to the worksite. As previously mentioned, stone generally played a subsidiary role, with mud-brick being the first option, rarely being the only material used in building. Stone was used mainly for foundations and load-bearing elements, as well as for all those sections likely to deteriorate as a result of the effects of external agents (water in particular), i.e. structures made for water management and coatings in general. From the Early Dynastic period, stone was broadly used also for door-sockets and thresholds of major buildings. It was rarely used for walls, at least until the 1st millennium BC, even then remaining subsidiary to the mud-brick. Especially during Pre- and Protohistory, gypsum, lime and marl were combined with clay to form a type of ‘concrete’ (see, for instance, the pillars of the Neolithic building at Nemrik, discussed on page 108), or were used to make real bricks (Moorey 1994: 332). Very few archaeological remains, however, have been found to provide evidence of the use of such products, therefore their actual roles in early Mesopotamian architecture are hard to assess; they can probably be considered only as trials, and quickly abandoned because of the fragility of the material. Mortar Mortar is ‘the bonding agent that integrates brick into a masonry assembly’ (BIA 2008: 1). More generally, it can be described as any plastic mixture of different elements and water, that hardens when dry and is used in masonry or plastering. Its role is fundamental for the quality of the building, especially in the case of mud-brick walls of significant height (HoubenGuillaud 1994: 259: ‘A failure to fill vertical joints decreases the compressive strength by 20 to 50%. […] The mortar used for joints should have the same compressive strength and erosion resistance as the bricks. If the strength of the mortar is less, erosion, and infiltration of water will occur and bricks will deteriorate. If the strength of the mortar is greater than that of the bricks, the bricks will erode, water will stand on the exposed surface of the mortar, causing further erosion of the bricks.’). In most Ancient Mesopotamian architecture, mortar consisted of the same mixture of mud and water used for making bricks. In this case, mortar was employed more for evening and compacting the surface than for bonding the bricks. However, real bonding mortars were 38

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already being produced in the Neolithic. Over time, various mortar types were used. In any event, Mesopotamian architects used only non-hydraulic mortars, i.e. mortars that cannot harden when they come into contact with water, as happens with concrete (unfortunately, the terminology for ‘mortar’ suffers from the same inconsistency and ambiguity as that used for stone). The basic elements for producing an effective bonding mortar are gypsum and lime, i.e. two substances that are predominantly calcium sulphate and calcium carbonate respectively. Even though gypsum and lime mortars are all different in their characteristics, it is very difficult to recognise them with the naked eye. As a consequence, their descriptions in the archaeological literature can be erroneous and misleading, especially in examples where no laboratory analyses have been performed (Wright 1985: 437: ‘However in considering instances widely separated in time and space there arises the important question of the constituency of what is referred to in reports as lime plaster. What this in fact was and that it was always the same is anything but clear.’). Practically, the main difference between gypsum and lime mortar is that gypsum used for mortar is generally heated to a temperature between 160°C and 180°C, and it dries quickly. The production of lime mortars is more complicated. The limestone must be heated to 900°C/950°C to decarbonate it and produce so-called ‘quicklime’ (calcium oxide). It is important not to exceed this temperature or the lime will not properly react with water, and is therefore useless for making mortar. Quicklime must be cooled using water, increasing its volume: at this stage, it is traditionally called ‘slaked’, or ‘hydrated’, lime (calcium hydroxide). Lime mortars are obviously more effective than those made with gypsum, but they are also more expensive. As mentioned previously, the archaeological literature is sometimes misleading in indicating exact mortar types found in excavations, especially for sites explored before the mid 20th century. Kilns may provide useful information, but the available archaeological remains are insufficient to give an effective overview of this subject (pages 111-113). It would, instead, be useful to have more data on mortars, especially because they are among the best indicators for defining the relative chronology of a construction. Mortars were prepared at the worksite as a rule, at the same time as construction. In all examples where a building was constructed in several stages, as well as all where conservation interventions were performed in antiquity, mortars are, therefore, very useful sequence markers. For building phases that cannot be distinguished by means of a stratigraphic sequence, the relative chronology of the structure can be pieced together from mortar analysis, if any. Even where mortars were prepared mixing the same components, and following the same procedures, there will be differences between those prepared at different times, mainly because of the differences in weather conditions, the manual skills of the workers, variations in mixture composition, etc. This approach to the study of mortars is today widely diffuse in building archaeology (Parenti 2002: 78; Pecchioni, Fratini, Cantisani 2008, with bibliography) but its harbingers can already be found in some early 20th-century excavations in the Near East. During his excavations at Karkemish, L. Woolley noticed that a difference in mud mortars should correspond to different phases of the building process: ‘The mud was, of course, taken from the nearest available piece of ground, and the bricks were moulded on the spot; consequently there is a great variety in their composition in different parts of the site […] The mud mortar is generally of the same character of the bricks; naturally, too, for it was dug out from the same spot. On the top of the great mound this is not so: bricks required for buildings here were probably made down below 39

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where the water was ready to hand, and where the ground surface was less valuable than on the crowded Citadel platform; on the other hand, the mud mortar was necessarily taken from close by; consequently we find in buildings of the Early Hittite period on the top of the mound bricks of clear red clayey earth set in mud mortar of a blackish grey, the two forming a most striking contrast.’ (Woolley 1921, p. 143). Bitumen Bitumen was a much appreciated material in ancient Mesopotamian architecture. It is a viscous liquid or semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum. It may be found in natural underground or surface deposits. Occasionally it impregnates sedimentary rocks, resulting in so-called ‘asphalts’ (other terms used in the archaeological literature for describing bitumen-like substances include ‘tar’ and ‘pitch’, which are actually residues of the distillation of organic materials). In the Near East, bitumen was used at least from the Protoliterate period, because of its adhesive and waterproofing qualities and thanks to its rather good availability. Significant surface deposits existed especially along the Zagros foothills, in the Kirkuk area in Assyria, in Babylonia near Hit, and in Persia (Figure 36). There are no useful sources to help us reconstruct the bitumen supply system adopted by the ancient Mesopotamians, but it is most likely that it did not differ much from the system still in use in the Middle Ages: ‘strips’ of bitumen could be picked up off the outcrops with sticks, thanks to the material’s natural viscosity. Eventually it would be mixed with straw, and then boiled or dried, to obtain a liquid substance that could be transported in a container, or as a solid lump. A kiln possibly used for burning bitumen was excavated at Nippur, but the interpretation of its function is uncertain (McCown, Heines, Biggs 1978: pls. 9 and 42). Bitumen was used in Mesopotamia for shaping objects, for protecting from moisture and for waterproofing (and not only in architecture: e.g. it was used also for boat caulking), as a fuel (for an example at Nuzi, see Starr 1937: 53), and it was even supposed to have magical and

Figure 36: The main bitumen deposits in Mesopotamia.

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Figure 37: Bitumen used as a mortar in the bricklaying of a building in Ur.

curative properties (Connan, Evershed, Biek et al. 1999: tab. 1, for an overview of the main uses of bitumen in the Near East). When mixed with other natural materials, bitumen could be adapted into a waterproofing mastic, and was therefore also used on occasion as a mortar (Figure 37). In this case, its effect on the stability of the structure was significant, as bitumen increases the strength of a wall. Generally, it was mixed with straw, grit, pottery sherds, in the same way as mud mortars. The lower the rate of bitumen in a mixture, the higher the melting temperature required (Moorey (1994: 333) writes that, today, mortars prepared with 12%-16% of bitumen require a melting temperature of 180°C/200°C). As with stone, we have several cuneiform texts that deal with bitumen-type material. However precise identification is often not possible as the texts refer more to the general appearance (solid or liquid, colour, etc.) than to composition. As an aside, the current term ‘naphta’ derives from the Akkadian naptu. Asphalt (often used interchangeably with bitumen) derives from the Greek sphallo, and has no exact correspondence in Akkadian; nor does ‘petroleum’, which derives from the Medieval Latin – petroleum. Wood and reeds As well as stone, wood was a subsidiary material in terms of ancient Mesopotamian architecture. Wood was used as a building material in different ways, depending on the regions and periods, but its utilisation was limited by the obvious shortage of forests, and, above all, the few types of timber suitable for construction in much of the Mesopotamian territory. However, it would be wrong to say, as is often the case, that Mesopotamia is poor, if not completely lacking, in wood resources. Some species of vegetation suitable for construction exist ‒ and, above all, existed in antiquity ‒ in certain regions. Woodland areas were mainly found in the north-eastern bordering areas and in Assyria, and in neighbouring regions that could be easily accessed. In any event, these resources were insufficient to meet the needs of the whole country, especially considering the great architectural development in central and southern Mesopotamia from the Early Bronze Age, and the problems of supply and transport over long distances. Furthermore, the territory conformation is largely at low altitudes above sea level and prevents the growth 41

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of trees suitable for building. In fact, few tree types growing below 500 m.a.s.l. are suitable for construction: the main ones being pines and palms. From cuneiform sources, it seems that the former was not commonly used for architecture but mainly for its resins (Moorey 1994: 348). Palms, on the other hand, were widely used, especially in the southern regions, although the quality is not very good for construction because of its low performance in terms of resistance. Evergreen trees occur mainly between 500 and 1200 m.a.s.l. Willow, tamarisk, and poplar appear to have been among the most used woods (the last two also as fuel). Cedar is associated, in the collective imagination, with Lebanon, but it grew also in neighbouring regions (for example in the Amanus mountain range). It grows at an altitude of more than 1200 m.a.s.l., as do most other conifers. The particular fame of the cedar compared to other timbers was mainly due to its resistance to insect attacks and durability over time (unlike the spruce, for example, which seems to have rarely been used in architecture, and more for the construction of boat hulls). The already quoted work by P.R.S. Moorey (1994: 360-361) as well as another by G. Pettinato (1972: 88-89 and 164) suggest a list of the woods used in Mesopotamia, attempting an association with the names known from the cuneiform texts. Unfortunately, such associations are even more difficult for wood than for stone. In addition to the lack of precision, due the technical inadequacy of the scribes, there is a general tendency to identify woods according to their appearance and colour or provenance. The search for timber was one of the main drivers for military expeditions. Apart from a few cuneiform texts from the earliest periods (e.g. a 3rd-millennium BC text of the time of Eannatum I of Lagash, who imported ‘white cedars from the foreign country’, discussed in Pettinato 1972: 56-57), the most relevant information goes back to the 1st millennium BC, when the Neo-Assyrian empire undertook intensive and selective exploitation of the resources of conquered regions (Tudeau 2016: 80). This is illustrated not only in cuneiform texts, but also in the iconography, especially that of palace reliefs. In a famous series of sculpture reliefs found in Nineveh, the wood supply chain is very well detailed: transported by river, pulled by boats, after preliminary processing carried out on the spot. Indeed, the wood is represented in the reliefs as being processed as logs, deprived of branches that would hinder its transport (probably only debarking was carried out after transport, to ensure the protection of the timber during the journey). Actually, the most complicated phase of transport was that from the forest to the river, while from that point on the journey became easier (Figure 38). In Assyrian reliefs the woodcutters are characterised by original pointed caps (Figure 39); and from the cuneiform sources we know that these workers were a welldefined category, from at least the Neo-Sumerian period at the end of the 3rd millennium BC (Steinkeller 1987). We have no knowledge it seems of air-seasoning procedures or other timber preparation methods. Wood was worked with tools such as the axe and saw, holding it steady by means of ropes and weights. According to Greek mythology, the saw was invented by Daedalus, but actually it existed at least from the 1st millennium BC (Gaitzsch 1994: 172; and see the representation of workers with saws in the Assyrian relief in Figure 22). During the neo-Assyrian period at least, the supply of timber was guaranteed not only by military shipments but also by nursery cultivation of trees: e.g. we know of one tree nursery planted at Ashur by Tiglat-pileser I, in the 11th century BC (Murphy 2007: 251). 42

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Figure 38: The transport of wooden trunks in an Assyrian relief from Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, total height 2.40 m. Louvre Museum n. AO 19890.

Figure 39: Woodcutters at work, represented on an Assyrian relief. Nineveh, 7th century BC.

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The product was mainly used for roofing, door and window frames, columns, and, more generally, as reinforcement in mud-brick masonry (see the above-mentioned wattle-and-daub technique, page 26). In the Levant especially a rich tradition of woodworking for constructions existed already in the Early Bronze Age. After the conquest of these regions by the Assyrians in the 1st millennium BC, several Levantine techniques and architectural models were imported in Assyria, and wood was therefore more widely used (for example, it seems likely that some Assyrian columns were entirely made of wood, perhaps a result of these western influences). A further plant material that was largely used in construction, especially in the southern regions of the Euphrates delta, was the reed. These were used both for producing single elements (see the chaînage, page 64) and for building complete structures, as in the case of the contemporary mudhif (discussed on pages 5-6). The gathering and working of reeds was surely an important part of the Mesopotamian economy in terms of building activities. Thanks to a small cuneiform archive of the 19th century BC, we know that a specific category of workers who harvested reeds existed in the region of Ur; workers were organised in teams, supervised by officers (nu-banda and ugula), and were probably in the employ of the temple of the Goddess Nanna (Van de Mieroop 1992a: 152). The earlier Neo-Sumerian texts from the Gershana archive (page 5) provided useful information about a still ambiguous Sumerian term related to reeds – gi-sal (Akkadian gisalu). It is still being argued whether this term refers to a specific type of reed used in construction, or a specific technique for preparing and/or using them in building. In any event, the same texts also give unequivocal information about the use of reeds in construction: in mud-brick wall binding, for the bases of walls, for coping the top of the walls (to prevent rain infiltration), for repairs, and also as bundles of stems or reed mats laid out on roof beams (Sauvage 2011a; 2016b, figs. 9-13 especially). Unfortunately, only small amounts of reed remains in architectural contexts are preserved, and we can assume from the available sources that these were used fairly extensively, e.g. for doors, separè and screens inside buildings, as well for ceiling and roofing structures (Woolley 1965, fig. 2; McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: 15 and pl. 25; Moorey 1994: 361). Metals Metals were used in Ancient Mesopotamian construction, although their use was limited and mainly intended for two functions: as a sealant and as decoration (e.g. in applied elements or panels). It is likely that metals were not used for structural construction, apart for making clamps and brackets. The latter were certainly used during the Iron age, but their prior existence in the Bronze Age can also be supposed (Rossi 2003). In any event, in the 1st millennium BC metals were used more for decorative nails, bosses and other ornamentation and furniture accessories, than for functional elements (Loud, Altman 1938: 15-16). The earliest metals to be used were alloys made of copper and arsenic which could be worked as raw materials. Melting copper requires a very high melting temperature (1084°C), and this is why bronze represented such a successful innovation: as an alloy of copper and tin, bronze has a lower melting temperature (c. 900°C, depending on the exact composition). Furthermore, it has greater hardness than copper. Another alloy well known in antiquity was brass, formed of copper and zinc, but it seems that it was not known prior to the Classical age (it cannot be excluded that zinc alone was used, which melts at a very low temperature, i.e. 419°C). Lead was certainly known and widely used, thanks to its low melting temperature (330°C) and high 44

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malleability. In 2nd-millennium BC Babylonia, lead was frequently used for making pipes (Moorey 1994: 293. There are indications of copper being employed for the same purposes in earlier times: see Hall 1930: fig. 218, a drawing of a copper pipe from al-Ubaid). Unfortunately, archaeological finds are limited in number, and the description of metals in excavation reports are not always accurate, especially so for the publications of the late 19th and early 20th century. Even though ancient metallurgy has seen great advances in terms of archaeological studies, the topic of the use of metals in construction still deserves more attention. Claddings and decorations Covering wall surfaces with coatings, which in earliest times was a simple layer of mud, dates back to the Neolithic. Although the primary purpose was to protect the wall, the coating also had an aesthetic function, constituting the visible surface. We should therefore distinguish those materials and techniques used to make simple plaster coatings from those for decoration – first of all mural painting. Plaster. The earliest and simplest coating was represented, as mentioned above, by a layer composed of the same mud used to manufacture the bricks. Strictly speaking, this was not real ‘plaster’: it was basically a mortar, i.e. a mixture in which there was at least one hardening material (in antiquity this was usually gypsum, lime, sand, or other granulated limestone) applied to walls and ceilings to make their surfaces smooth and hard. It is difficult to distinguish gypsum and lime on the basis of simple examination with the naked eye (see page 39). As a rule, the archaeological literature − especially in relation to the great excavations undertaken in Mesopotamia until the middle of the last century − does not contain detailed and precise descriptions of the types of plaster excavated, although all these plasters usually favoured the use of gypsum and lime (even today, plaster in Arabic is juss, from the Greek gypsum). From a technical point of view, the difference between gypsum- and lime-based plaster is substantial: lime-plaster requires more time (and cost) for its preparation (see the section on ‘mortars’, page 39). Lime-plaster requires a higher firing temperature and a much longer burning time than gypsum-plaster. Furthermore, the latter can be used just after the water has been added, while lime-plaster must rest for a time, depending on the mixture composition. From the point of view of quality, lime-plaster is more durable and gives a more solid and resistant base for painting or other decoration. ‘Stucco’ also belongs to the group of limebased plasters, being a fine mortar based on lime, mixed with other materials that can vary, depending on the region and period (sand, marble, gypsum, etc.), and used for making a hard covering on wall surfaces, as well as for realising plastic decorations. Mural painting. The custom of decorating coated surfaces is testified from Neolithic times. The main decoration was the painted one. It is most likely that mural painting was used more extensively than appears in the archaeological evidence. The low number of finds, compared to

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that of actual production, makes it difficult to assess this phenomenon accurately throughout Mesopotamian history. Apart from a few occasional remains, the earliest noteworthy evidence is from the 6thmillennium BC levels at Umm Dabaghya, where a hunting scene was painted using black, red and yellow pigments on gypsum-based plaster (Kirkbride 1975). Later, wall paintings are reported from the late Uruk levels at Uqair (Lloyd, Safar 1943: 139-143). However, in both cases only scanty remains were found and the documentation does not allow detailed technical analysis. As far is known, the basic techniques of mural painting in antiquity were tempera and fresco. In tempera the pigments are bound with an emulsion and applied on a dry surface (in ancient Mesopotamia, the emulsion was generally made with egg or sorts of glues and there are no indications of oil used as a binding agent). Fresco involves applying pigments to a dry plaster, using an organic or inorganic binder (i.e. the so-called fresco secco, or dry fresco, distinguished from buon fresco, being painting executed on a freshly plastered wall, which has better durability). The technique typically used in ancient Mesopotamia was tempera: a good example being the Neo-Assyrian wall paintings at Dur-Sharrukin. The archaeologists who excavated this site described in detail the technique used for the painted decoration, which was ‘… applied in brilliant flat colors to thin mud plaster, already lightly white washed’ (Loud, Altman 1938: 48). This is, however, a rare case of a detailed excavation report. Often the available data do not allow precise analyses. Mari, for example, is the archaeological site where some of the most famous mural paintings in all Mesopotamian archaeology were found, but the excavations and publications from the 1930s leave many uncertainties in terms of interpretation of the various pictorial techniques. These, however, seem differ depending on context: e.g. the wellknown ‘Investiture of Zimri-Lim’ (Court 106 of the Palace, 18th century BC − Figure 40) was a dry fresco, applied to a skim of whitewash, or plaster, on the mud plaster of a wall made of sun-dried bricks. Conversely, the other mural paintings from the same palace, reproducing a procession for a ceremony of sacrifice, and generally dated shortly before the ‘Investiture’ (Parrot 1958b: figs. 18-19), were applied on a simple base of plaster or a very thick layer of lime. It is interesting to note how colour effects were obtained in paintings. Thanks to its analytical and systematic approach, research by A. Nunn (1988) on colours reported in the Near Eastern archaeological literature is still the starting point for understanding the adopted methods. Nunn’s study demonstrates that it is difficult, in many cases, to properly assess the available data. This is due to inconsistency in the methods of recording and description adopted in many publications, as well as to the little data we have from laboratory analyses. The basic colours were black, white, red, and a hue which, according to current criteria, has different shadings from blue to green (given in English the covering term ‘grue’ = green/blue, as coined in the 1950s by the philosopher Nelson Goodman in his book Fact, Fiction, and Forecast, even though with a slightly different meaning). The colour was obtained using mainly those pigments that are substances that cover other materials without mixing chemically with them, and which thus change the surface colour (see Goffer 2007: 62-75 for an overview on pigments used in antiquity).

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Figure 40: Detail of the so-called ‘Investiture of Zimri-Lim’ painting, from the Zimri-Lim palace at Mari, 18th century BC. Tempera on plaster, total size 1.75 × 2.50 cm. Louvre Museum, n. AO19826.

Pigments used to obtain colours were essentially based on minerals, while the use of plant or animal pigments was very rare (a distinction must be drawn between pigments and dyes: the latter are organic substances used to produce colours on materials such as fabrics, leather, wood, bone, and other similar materials, and therefore have little importance in mural paintings). Black was obtained from coal; white from calcium carbonate and/or chalk; red from ochre (by ‘red’ we mean a wide range of hues, from brown to yellow, the latter usually rendered via the exclusive use of yellow ochre). Green/blue was obtained from the so-called ‘Egyptian blue’, i.e. the earliest synthetic pigment, obtained by heating to around 850°C-950°C a mixture of a calcium compound (typically calcium carbonate), a copper-containing compound (metal filings or malachite), silica sand, as well as soda or potash as a flux (Jaksch, Seipel, Weiner et al. 1983; McCouat 2018). It was used extensively from the early Egyptian dynasties until the end of the Roman period. It seems that lapis lazuli was used as pigment only since Sasanian times (Tomabechi 1983: 128, fn. 24), while it is uncertain if cobalt was used in the Pre-Classical era. Glaze. Another architectural decoration technique was the ‘glaze’, i.e. a thin, glossy or lustrous coating applied to decorative bricks and tiles (Figures 41-43). It consists of a mixture of different substances applied to the surface of a solid material and which produces the effect of a fixed coating after firing. The basic substance for achieving this effect is silica, with a very high melting temperature (at least 1400°C). Other flux agents are then added to the silica. In ancient Mesopotamia these were mainly alkalis, while oxide of lead was used only since the Roman period. The technological process behind this technique has ancient roots, beginning already in the 2nd millennium BC and reaching its maximum expression during the Iron Age, 47

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Figure 41: Mud-brick with a glazed guilloche design. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, 10.2 × 18.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 57.27.24a-b.

Figure 42: Striding lion on a glazed panel from Babylon, ca. 604–562 B.C. Ceramic, glaze, height 97 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 31.13.1.

especially in Assyria and Babylon. Further technological progress was achieved during the Achaemenian period, when sintered quartz began to be used (Moorey 1994: 319). The sintered quartz helped the glaze to better adhere to the support. However, it is worth mentioning that it is almost impossible to distinguish by the naked eye whether the body material of a glazed component is clay or sintered quartz – or anything else – and laboratory analyses have been carried out on only a few examples. It is therefore still hard to trace a comprehensive and detailed history of this technique. R. Koldewey (1913: 28-30) describes well the method of production of the most famous glazed brick decorations in Mesopotamia – Babylon. First bricks are fired before glazing and then the ‘silhouettes’ of the decorative motifs are drawn, with the resulting spaces filled in with the liquid material which turns to glaze in the second firing. In this phase the silhouette lines fuse together with the rest of the glaze, and generally disappear. 48

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Figure 43: Detail of a glazedbrick panel (a), and its exploded view (b), from the Throne Room of Nabuchdnezar II in Babylon, 6th century BC.

This technique was used mostly for realising great panels – extensive masonry surfaces composed of many bricks, glazed one by one: the overall design being the result of a complex work of bricklaying, dependent on a pre-cast pattern, a guide to recompose the original design. For example, the archaeological evidence indicates that, in Assyria, the common practice was to make decorations on the basis of a model in which the silhouettes were drawn in black and later coloured and glazed (a summary on Assyrian architectural glazed production is given in Reade 1979). In some cases, the registration and observation of architectural remains as they are being dismantled during excavation allows us to reconstruct the bricklaying process exactly. The exploded view of a panel of glazed bricks from Babylon is reproduced in fig. 43. The bricks had interior marks to allow their assembly according to a model. The central marks in the bricks are simple signs – from 1 to 7 – Indicating the courses to which the individual bricks belonged. The marks at the side ends specified the sequence of the bricks on a course, corresponding marks on the ends of adjoining bricks indicating the connecting points. Bitumen was used as a binder, but it was inserted only into the inner interstices, avoiding extrusions onto the outer surfaces due to compression when the bricks were being replaced (Koldewey 1913: 104-105). 49

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In addition to painting and glazing, other types of parietal decoration exist, that can be grouped in three further main categories, for convenience: a) relief sculpture; b) wall construction with buttresses and recesses; c) and the application of different materials and elements to the masonry. Relief sculpture. Apart from isolated and exceptional cases, the technique of decorating the lower courses of walls with sculptured stone slabs (orthostates) fully developed in the Iron Age and had its maximum expression in the reliefs of the Assyrian palaces (Figure 44), especially from the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (8th century BC). Leaving aside the issues concerning the content and style of the representations, and focusing on the technical aspects, the orthostates from Dur-Sharrukin are worth mentioning. At this site the dismantling operation carried out after the excavations, in order to transport the materials to Baghdad, and later to Chicago, allowed archaeologists to carefully record the building techniques: the slabs were supported by a so-called ‘rough stone filling’ (Loud 1936: 79), and had therefore probably been raised before building the walls (this also makes sense from a practical point of view, considering the difficulty there would have been in moving the slabs in the already built construction). Metallic clamps and staples probably kept the slabs fixed to the wall. The orthostates, as well as the stone human-headed winged lions (lamassu) that stood on the sides of the main entrances, had a static function, and were not only decorative (Figure 45). In other cases, such as at Guzana in the early Iron Age, it seems that the orthostates were fastened to the walls by means

Figure 44: Relief panel from the Northwest Palace at Kalhu, Figure 45: Human-headed winged lion 9th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, height 236 cm. New York, (lamassu) from Kalhu, 9th century BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.8. Gypsum alabaster, height 311 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 32.143.2.

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of wooden frames (although this is an interpretation based on the reconstructions proposed by R. Naumann, which remain conjectural to a large extent ‒ Rossi 2003: 225). The finishing of these reliefs is also a debated topic. It is certain that in some cases pictorial decorations were applied (Reade 1998b: 20), but it is not clear how extensively. In particular it is not clear whether the colour was applied to the entire composition, or only to the more significant elements, such as hair and beards, where colour is actually preserved on some examples (Loud, Altman 1938: 41; Roaf 1990: 163). Buttresses and recesses. A further building technique that guarantees static function, and, at the same time, produces a decorative effect, is that of masonry with buttresses and recesses. In fact, since at least the 6th millennium BC period we find building-plans whose perimeters alternated buttresses and recesses (Sieversten 1998: 2). This mainly involved large buildings and their outer perimeters, so that the external walls took on a jagged appearance, with a play of lights and shadows that made them look less monotonous than a flat surface. At the same time this feature made the wall more solid. Various hypotheses have been formulated as to the origin of this technique: W. Andrae (1930: 73) suggested that it came from using reeds together with the bricks; conversely, E. Heinrich thought that the recesses recalled slots for the housing of wooden poles (Heinrich 1957: 55); B. Hrouda and J.Cl.- Margueron stressed the importance of this technique for the stability of the structure (Hrouda 1971: 66; Margueron 1989: 57-59); J. Schmidt emphasised its aesthetic value (Schmidt, J. 1974: 185; see also Miglus 1998-2011 for a general overview on this topic). This technique was known since Neolithic times but it witnessed a significant development from the Samarra period. It reached its apex in the Protoliterate period, however continuing also to be frequently used later (Figure 46). Actually, at least in southern Mesopotamia, the

Figure 46: Buttresses and recesses in a mud-brick wall of the so-called dublalmakh, Ur, 14th century BC.

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system of buttresses and recesses seems to have been continued into the Hellenistic age, as testified by examples such as the Seleucid temple of Anu-Antum at Uruk (whose buttresses and recesses are well recognisable in the photograph published in Jordan 1930: 42). Even in the 20th century the architecture of the region of the Euphrates delta retained examples of this technique (see Dougherty 1927, in particular, for the continuity between the walls with buttresses and recesses of the region’s modern buildings and Sumerian ones, which were revealed by archaeological excavations in those years). Undoubtedly, the goal of improving the construction’s static function was fundamental, although it seems equally clear that, over time, the decorative function of the pattern with buttresses and recesses became increasingly important, not least for distinguishing main buildings from more modest ones, so as to make this feature a status symbol of sorts (Sieversten 1998: iv). The third category of decoration is the application of different materials and elements to masonry. The decoration typology illustrated in many case-studies looks very varied, but, from the point of view of analysis of building techniques this is only partially significant: the archaeological evidence in fact illustrates a wide variety of embossed or applied decorations to walls, but only in a few cases did they have also a static function. A list of the main types is as follows: Clay bottles. These were hollow pipes/cones inserted into the walls in such a way as to leave their empty sections visible on the surface. This resulted in a decoration that gave movement to the surface, with a sort of honeycomb effect. Actually, the basic function of these elements was to lighten the weight of the structure, thanks to the hollow spaces they produced within the walls. This system was mainly used during the Protoliterate period. Although the number of documented cases is limited (e.g. the ‘White Temple’ of Uruk and ‘Painted Temple’ of Tell Uqair), the technique was probably quite widespread and is also recognisable in some models, such as the one illustrated in Figure 47: here, a façade is decorated vertically with a motif of buttresses and recesses, and horizontally by a sort of frieze at the top, where the holes most likely reproduced the effect of to the clay bottles. The use of similar objects is documented even in more recent times, although sporadically. For example at Emar, dated to the late 2nd millennium BC, several clay bottles were found that were cylindrical in shape or having a pointed end, gently tapered, some 25-35 cm long (a selection of designs is in Werner 1994: 163). Probably because of its static function, this type of decoration was generally placed in the uppermost parts of the walls and thus documented cases are extremely rare. In these more recent cases, an open question remains as to whether these and other similar objects could also have had a function other than decorative (e.g. the static function described above, or that of facilitating air exchange, or even as pigeon-holes), since no remains were found in situ (see Soldi 2019a: 202 in particular) for a general overview on evidence from excavations and iconography, focused on the Levant and Upper Mesopotamian context). Mosaic clay cones. These are solid cones in clay (or in stone to a minor extent), inserted in walls, columns and buttresses, with only their flat ends left visible on the surface. The best-known examples of wall decoration with these objects is attested in the late 4th-millennium BC levels at Uruk (Figures 48-49). Normally, clay cones were small, solid, and could have undecorated or coloured ends, the latter used in patterns to create a mosaic effect. The end colours could be white, black, red or yellow, and their arrangement produced geometric designs. In some cases, types of clay clamps and staples improved the fastening of the cones. As with the bottles, the 52

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Figure 47: Fragment of a relief representing a building façade with buttresses and recesses topped with a sort of frieze, possibly made with terracotta bottles. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC. Limestone, height 10.8 cm.

use of cones is typical of the Protoliterate period, for which they constitute one of the most distinctive architectural productions. The main architectural complex in which these cones were found is the E-anna at Uruk. In many cases the cones were found in situ embedded in the walls. Similar cones are, however, attested in the levels of many other archaeological sites of Sumerian culture: to the north they have been found up in the region of the Syrian Euphrates (e.g. at Tell Kannas ‒ Trokay 1981), in the Syrian Jazira (e.g. Tell Brak ‒ Mallowan 1947: pl. 6.3), in Assyria (e.g. Kilizu ‒ Anastasio, Conti, Ulivieri 2012: nr. 124) and in Khuzistan (Adams 1981: 77). Some examples are attested already in the levels of the al-Ubaid period and, later, until 53

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Figure 48: Columns decorated with clay-cones at Uruk, reconstructed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.

Figure 49: Clay cones from southern Mesopotamia, late 4th millennium BC. Penn Museum, n. B2715-2.

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Figure 50: Wall flower, from al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Clay, stone and bitumen, length 15 cm. Penn Museum, n. B15888.

the Akkadian period. In Egypt they were found in coeval levels (Way 1987), but also much later, until the Iron Age, often with engravings on their ends (Dibley, Lipkin 2009). The stone wall ‘flowers’ found in the temple of the 3rd millennium B.C. of Tell Brak (Mallowan 1947: pl. 30.1-2) and at al-Ubaid (Hall 1930: fig. 231) are similar to the cones described above but are different, both because they are made of stone and the decoration is different: on top they have ‘leaves’ of stones of different colours that form a petal pattern, reminiscent of flowers. Although these are very rare finds, they are proof of the high aesthetic taste already developed during the 3rd millennium BC in the field of architectural decoration (Figure 50). Wall plaques. This category contains various objects of different types that share some basic characteristics. In all cases they are smaller than the orthostates and reliefs described on pages 50-51, and were most likely suspended from the walls above the ground. There are basically two main types of wall decoration plaques. The first group consists of limestone slabs, pierced in the middle and carved with reliefs that are datable to the Early Dynastic period; they have been found at several sites of Sumerian culture (see above, Figure 17). The scenes of the reliefs usually represent processions, libations or other themes related to the sphere of religion and/or royalty. The central hole was most likely used to attach the plaque to a horizontal peg fixed into the wall. A different case is that of the so-called Assyrian ‘knob-plates’ (Figure 51), circular or square clay plaques with a central protruding knob, often glazed or simply painted with geometric and floral designs. They were characteristic of the architectural decoration of Assyrian palaces from the 9th century BC and their production continued until the end of the Neo-Assyrian period. They were fastened to a wooden rod, secured by nails, hanging the plaque on the wall. Ishtar clay hands. These are very particular objects, probably types of miniature corbels shaped as animal paws, with the claws aligned and well detailed at the end that remained visible, while the undecorated stem was inserted into the wall (Figure 52); some have cuneiform inscriptions on the claws. These corbels have been found at almost all the main sites of the Assyrian kingdom, although it is interesting to note that the same model is also found in locations beyond the Assyrian homeland, although with differences in size and proportions (see, e.g., the object from Sam’al, published in Frame 1991: fig. 2). The finds often have bitumen stains. Unfortunately, in no case does the archaeological find context allow us to understand at what height of the wall they were applied, or their function (which must remain therefore 55

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Figure 51: Reproduction of an Assyrian knob-plate. Ashur, 9th century BC.

Figure 52: Miniature corbel in the shape of a hand. Kalhu, 9th century BC. Glazed clay, length 22.2 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.30.

conjectural – purely decorative, for supporting glazed friezes, and/or as supports for the beams of ceilings and roofs. See the Thematic Bibliography for references on this subject). Sikkatu-nails. These are decorative objects typical of Assyrian architecture of the 1st millennium BC, although examples are known since the 15th century BC (e.g. from Nuzi ‒ Starr 1937: pl. 97). These clay objects can have different shapes, but, substantially, they can be grouped in two main types: one with a cylindrical stem and hollow, spherical or semi-spherical end; and a second type with a full and solid end, more to look similar to a real nail (Anastasio 2010: pls. 35.6-7). In English they are described with different names: cones, knobs, bosses, nails, pegs (Donbaz, Grayson 1984: 1). Often cuneiform inscriptions are incised on their ends. These nails were inserted into the interior walls of buildings, leaving the ends protruding; in some cases these ends were painted. It is most likely that they had only a decorative function; it hardly seems possible that they could also have had any static or structural use (Figures 53-54). A separate category of clay nails connected to the construction of the building, which is mentioned here only for completeness of information, as it is not a real coating or decoration, is that of the foundation clay cones. These often had cuneiform inscriptions to commemorate 56

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Figure 53: Sikkatu-nail from Kilizu, 10th-7th century BC. Clay, length 18.5 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, object n. 203023.

the act of building or renovating an important construction, usually a temple. These nails were inserted in the walls or put under the foundations, hidden from view, and were meant to be recovered in case of later restorations (Figure 55). Metal decorative items. The most important buildings could also be decorated with metal features, especially friezes and animal protomes. Unfortunately, such finds are extremely rare. The few known examples, however, demonstrate the great skills achieved by craftsmen already in the Protoliterate period. The outstanding gold and stone frieze decorating the altar (or podium) of Tell Brak’s Eye Temple cannot have been an isolated example (an image is available in the on-line database of the British Museum, no. 127430). The most significant document is the so-called ‘Imdugud frieze’ from the 3rd-millennium BC levels of al-Ubaid (Figure 56). It is made with copper alloy blades nailed to a wooden body, and its name derives from the lion-headed eagle, Imdugud, represented in the centre of the panel, with two ibexes or deer on the sides, in a composition that is detached from the surface, almost forming an all-round image. Again from al-Ubaid, fragments of

Figure 54: Various Assyrian wall cones and nails, between the 2nd and 1st millennium BC.

Figure 55: A votive clay cone with cuneiform inscription. Lagash, 24th century BC. Clay, length 21.7 cm. National Archaeological Museum of Florence, n. 93768.

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Figure 56: Relief panel representing the lion-headed eagle Imdugud gripping two ibexes or deer, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Lead, copper alloy, bitumen, length 259 cm. The British Museum, n. 114308.

similar animal heads show that objects like this frieze were probably more common than we might think (Hall 1930: 244-247 and figs. 220-223). In the category of metal decorations we can also mention the bronze bands attached through nails to the wooden Balawat Gates, which will be considered below (pages 77-78) in the section dedicated to doors and gates. Mention can also be made here of the finds of Early Dynastic metal foundation figurines. These are anthropomorphic nails, generally in copper alloy or bronze, that were symbolically used to mark the grounds of a temple and buried in foundation deposits, sometimes within dedicated clay boxes. As with the abovementioned foundation clay cones, they cannot be considered true architectural decorations, but elements of the sacred temple furniture (Figure 57).

Figure 57: Foundation peg in the form of a lion, probably from Urkesh, 22nd century BC. Copper alloy, 11.7 × 7.9 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 48.180.

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Architectural elements Load-bearing structural systems: general features A construction is first of all a static structure, whose main function is to establish and maintain static equilibrium over time. The strength of an architectural element depends on the physical characteristics of the materials of which it is composed, its geometric shape and its position in relation to the other elements that make up the structure. The part of the structure intended to support the loads and resist the stress and strains to which it is subjected is therefore defined as a load-bearing structural system. These systems can be distinguished, in the first place, as either compressive or noncompressive. A compressive system is the one that resolves forces into compressive stresses and, in turn, eliminates tensile stresses. The earliest system is the non-compressive one, also called the ‘trilithon’ (Figure 58a). It consists of two large vertical posts that support a third (lintel or architrave), set horizontally across the top. The weight on the lintel is discharged via the posts. The major flaw of this system is the tendency of the lintel to warp, especially in terms of deflection from its original unloaded position, because of the stresses. Wood resists this strain well and therefore can be used to cover spans of 5-6 m; however, it is less resistant to weathering than stone, which has a lower deflection resistance and therefore covers spans smaller than those covered by wood. The arch is a different system, and represents a huge technological innovation (Figure 58b). It is a compressive system, meaning that it works best when it is in compression; it allows much larger spans to be covered than is possible using the trilithon. This effect is achieved by connecting the supporting piers with elements that are placed perpendicular to a curved line. In this way, the equilibrium is achieved thanks to the compression exerted by each element on the one closest to it, and friction prevents their falling. There are two other structural systems that are halfway between the trilithon and arch, i.e. the so-called ‘corbel arch’ and ‘jack arch’ (Figures 58c-d). The former is actually an arch-like structure (or false arch), in which successive courses of bricks or stones offset at the opposite springing-lines of the walls and they meet at the archway’s centre. The jack arch (also flat arch or straight arch) has a totally flat profile, and is therefore closer to the trilithon than the arch from the point of view of statics. However, the jack arch is composed of single elements that work in compression, as does the arch. Below is a review of the main architectural elements employed in ancient Mesopotamian architecture. Walls A wall is a structure whose basic function is to vertically limit a space. As for statics, it can be loadbearing or not. A wall can be described and categorised in many ways, and according to different 59

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Figure 58a-d. Above: the pressure exerted on the trilithon (a) and the arch system (b). Below: examples of arch-like systems i.e. the corbel arch (c) and the jack arch (d).

criteria. Especially in any archaeological building survey, it is advisable to start registration from an analysis of the individual sections into which the wall can be broken down, considering each individually, not from the complete and finished work (Mannoni 2005: 17). Descriptions should be based essentially on objective observations of the external visible surfaces. The basic parameters are therefore those related to: a) material; b) treatment of the material; c) masonry bonding; d) size of masonry elements (bricks, stones, etc.); e) finishing techniques and toolmarks; f) any mortars or binders in general (Parenti 1988b: 288). Moreover, it is appropriate to take into account some general rules related to the good execution of masonry work, which are important in evaluating construction quality. T. Mannoni singled out four main issues concerning this topic: a) in the bond masonry, each element must rest on at least two underlying elements; b) each masonry element must rest on as many points as possible of the underlying course; c) the support surfaces of the masonry elements must be as horizontal as possible from one canton of the wall to the other; d) the support surfaces of the cross section of the wall must be horizontal; e) 60

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it is useful that the wall should have at least some bondstones (or through stones, or perpends − Figure 59), i.e. elements passing through the wall section from one surface to the other (Mannoni 2005: 16). Analyses of these parameters help to evaluate the quality of the masonry and the technical competence behind it. The materials typically used in the masonry of ancient Mesopotamia architecture include sun-dried and fired bricks, stone, wood, and reeds (or, as often happens, a mixture of them). The wall can also be broken down into distinct parts, according to their different functions: foundation, footings, and elevation (Figure 59).

Figure 59: Wall components: foundation (a), footings

The foundations are those sections of the (b), masonry wall (c). structure that transfer the load to the ground in which they sink, to reduce to the maximum the yields and possible damage to the construction; the following main types can be recognised in Mesopotamia, according to a scheme proposed by H. Gasche and W. Birschmeier (1981: 16): a) walls without foundations; b) walls with foundations that are the actual remains of previous constructions; c) walls with foundations that have been realised after levelling any previous structure; d) walls with foundations in dedicates pits, filled in with homogeneous materials, such as sand. In fact, it is very difficult to distinguish between them exactly in archaeological excavations, especially when dealing with ‘earth architecture’, because of the difficulties in identifying a foundation pit and its filling, and for the possible mixing of any foundation or previous underground structure. Unlike other problems of statics, for which solutions based on precise calculations and codified procedures were developed, it seems that, before the Modern Age, foundations were always built only on the basis of empirical evaluation, ‘by eye’: soil type and approximate depth necessary to support the weight of the structure were assessed on the spot. The old saying quoted by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) on calculating the depth of foundation pits shows the level of technical knowledge as late as the 15th century AD: ‘Dig until you find hard ground! And may God protect you!’ (‘Scava fino a trovare il duro, e che il Ciel ti assista!’, in De Re Aedificatoria 3:2, quoted in Giuliani 2008: 164). In addition to the foundation and elevation, it is necessary to distinguish footings, which work as a wall base, even if they are above ground level. Brick buildings could have footings made of stone, or of the same brick as the rest of the wall, but in this case the footing was usually of fired bricks, although the rest of the wall employed sun-dried ones. Generally, the footings were wider than the elevation, and the main function was that of moisture protection, preventing water from reaching the top from capillarity. 61

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Figure 60: Brick surfaces (a) and an example of masonry bond (b).

A further important feature concerns the distinguishing of types of bonding used for the single brick/stone elements, as well as those related to the entire wall. In the first case, it is necessary to consider the position of each visible brick/stone in relation to its six surfaces (top, bottom, two edges and two ends). Just to refer to two main and frequently used examples, and focusing on brick walls, a ‘stretcher bond’ is a bond in which the greatest dimension and one edge of the brick are visible; conversely, a ‘header bond’ has one end of the brick visible on the surface, but its greatest dimension is contained within the wall section (Figure 60. See Houben, Guillaud 1994: 260 for a more exhaustive list). As for the bond of the whole wall (Figure 61), a first distinction is that between walls with or without ‘courses’, i.e. sequences of masonry

Figure 61a-d: Some examples of brick- and stone-masonry bonds (not to scale). 61a: herringbone masonry of plano-convex mud-bricks from Tutub, 3rd millennium BC; 61b: stretcher bond brick masonry from Ur, 2nd millennium BC; 61c: rubble stone masonry in a wall foundation from Karkemish, early 1st millennium BC; 61d: ashlar stone masonry at Dur-Sharrukin, 1st millennium BC.

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elements resting on the same horizontal baseline. Obviously, from the point of view of the bond and the laying of the elements, typologies can vary depending on whether it is brick or stone masonry. In the case of brick masonry, the walls are practically always in courses (even in the so-called ‘herringbone’ patterns that were made with plano-convex bricks, as referred to above, with alignments always on continuous horizontal planes, although the single bricks are placed against each other in oblique positions). There were many types of bonds: O. Aurenche recorded 18 types just for the Neolithic (Aurenche 1981b: tab. 14; see the above-mentioned work by Sauvage 1998a: 59-62 for a list of brick bonds through the various periods of Mesopotamian history). The mud-brick, both sun-dried and fired, has proved to be an extremely economical construction material, flexible and adaptable to different solutions. Problems related to stability are also surmountable, especially by means of combining brick with other materials, such as stone (e.g. for footings or load-bearing structures) and wood (e.g. wattle-and-daub, as previously mentioned). Even for large, monumental constructions totally built of brick, some targeted measures ensured good results. One example is the type of brick masonry technique characteristic of the Early Dynastic period, known by its Akkadian term – kisu. This type of wall was generally built for large-scale constructions and used a coating of fired bricks to protect the external surface of the wall made of sun-dried bricks (Lecomte 1989: 115). Another technical measure that helped the stability of large brick masonries involved providing the walls with so-called ‘wheeper holes’, according to the expression used by L. Woolley (1939: 118). These were rectangular holes in the brickwork, arranged in regular intervals, that were visible on the surface and went deep inside the core of the structure. It is most likely that they were intended to ensure water outflow, as well as to allow adjustments to the volume of the structure due to the inevitable deformations that it underwent over time. Examples of this technique are still well recognisable in standing constructions, such as the ziggurats at Ur (Woolley 1939: pl. 47) and Borsippa (Figure 62), as well as in the walls of Fort Shalmanassar at Kalhu (Mallowan 1966: 464).

Figure 62: Drainage holes in the ziggurat at Borsippa, 6th century BC, from two photographs taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.

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Figure 63: Layers of reeds used for the construction of the ziggurat at Uruk, late 3rd millennium BC.

Another widely used technique was the one commonly referred to with the French term chaînage, whereby layers of reeds were inserted to separate the brick courses (Figure 63). The reeds were generally placed in diagonally superimposed layers and, for this reason, archaeologists often believed that they were braided reed bundles. They served for moisture protection, as well as to absorb the inevitable movements of the mass of bricks over time (in this sense they can also be considered as a pioneering form of ‘anti-seismic’ protection). This technique is particularly well visible in the remains of the ziggurat at Dur-Kurigalzu, where it has been possible to recognise that the layers of bricks spaced to those of the reeds become wider the more they rise in height (Gullini 1985: 135). Herodotus mentioned this building method describing the city walls of Babylon: ‘As they dug the pit, they made bricks of the earth which were carried out of the place they dug, and when they had moulded bricks enough they baked them in ovens; then using hot bitumen for cement and interposing layers of wattled reeds at every thirtieth course of bricks, they built first the border of the pit and then the wall itself in the same fashion’ (Histories, I: 179). Although the most significant findings concern 64

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monumental buildings, the technique was occasionally used also for domestic and more modest buildings (Sauvage 1998b: 52). For stone constructions, the first fundamental distinction can be made according to the individual elements of the masonry, which could be natural, roughly shaped, or dressed stones. In this last case, the term ‘ashlar’ is often used, although it can be misleading as ashlar may indicate both the individual stones or the whole wall structure built from it (see below). A further distinctive feature is the presence or not of mortars, defining ‘dry masonry’, whereby stones are laid without mortar (a brick wall can be made in dry masonry, but it is quite rare for there to be no binder at all, at least simple mud, used to join the bricks). In the case of stone dry masonry, known since the Neolithic, the adhesion between the various stones was guaranteed only by the force of gravity and friction, differs depending on the type of stone. The earliest and simplest examples consist of single rows of stones arranged in superimposed courses, laid directly on the ground (e.g. the remains excavated at Hallan Çemi, dating to c. 10,000 BC ‒ Białowarczuk 2007: 587). As a general trend, progress in stone-working techniques led to the stones becoming increasingly smaller, as well as the walls being made of stones ever more regular and smoothed, especially in their contact surfaces. The interstices between the various stones could be filled with wedges, generally made of small stones, pebbles or debris, e.g. the so-called ‘rubble masonry’ (or ‘field stone masonry’ ‒ Dunham 2001: 294). The result can be a very solid structure: for example the masonry reproduced in Figure 61c is from the ‘House C’ foundations, c. 1.5 m deep, excavated by L. Woolley at Karkemish. It had very large stones at the bottom which provided the base for the upper, irregular courses: further up, the wall was made of stones of various sizes that therefore rested on two or more courses, to equalise the irregularity caused by the large stones below, while rubble, debris and mud mortar patched the stones together, so as to make the surface of each higher course flat (Woolley 1921: 146). A further distinction can be made between ‘irregular’ and ‘regular’ bonds. In the former the stones are irregularly shaped, or not shaped at all, and randomly placed. In regular bonds, stones have regularised contact surfaces and are well squared and consistent in size, so as to make more homogeneous courses. Actually, this feature does not significantly improve the statics of the wall, but it makes construction easier and ensures a greater overall regularity. Despite appearances, the construction of masonry in raw or roughly dressed stones requires a remarkable level of competence, with irregularities obliging the mason to make precise calculations to distribute loads effectively at crucial points (cantons, openings, etc.). In ancient Mesopotamia, stone-working techniques were strongly influenced by those being employed in neighbouring regions, where expertise in the field of stone architecture was more advanced, thanks to the increased availability of building materials. In particular, the construction techniques that developed in the western regions, i.e. Syria, Palestine and south-eastern Anatolia, had the greatest influence, especially during the period of Assyrian domination. An example of a masonry bond type of western origin is the so-called ‘ashlar masonry’. Actually, this label is used in archaeological literature to indicate masonries that may have different characteristics. The term comes from the French aisselier, in turn borrowed from the Latin axilla (small board), and is used, as mentioned above, both for individual stones and for walls built using such stones. The technique consists basically of building the masonry by means of squared stones, so that all surfaces of contact between the stones are regular and adherent to each other. Examples are 65

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known at least since the 3rd millennium BC. Actually, as mentioned previously, the term is used for quite a variety of cases, and the use made of it is especially different, whether concerning the Bronze Age or more recent periods. In the terminology of the Early Bronze Age, in fact, ashlar masonry can be considered in the broad sense for all constructions where the blocks, although tending to be squared, are not necessarily true parallelepipeds, and visible faces may have trapezoidal or non-uniform profiles. In the literature dealing with walls from the Iron Age onwards, the term is generally used instead in a narrower sense, to indicate masonries with actual squared stones and placed in regular and parallel courses (Hult 1983: 1: ‘Ashlar masonry is a term used by scholars concerned with the Bronze Age in a wider sense than by those studying later periods. By Bronze Age ashlar masonry are meant structures of wrought blocks which approach, but do not always reach, the ideal of rectangular visible face when the blocks are in place; some deviate considerably from this, being trapezoidal. The faces which are not visible are mostly unwrought, and the sizes of the blocks vary considerably.’). A particular technique of stoneworking known as ‘rustication’ deserves specific mention. In a rusticated wall, the external surface of each individual stone is cut back around its edges to Figure 64: The main steps for shaping a rusticated stone. make the placing of all the stones easier and more precise. From the Hellenistic Age onwards, the stone-working method generally used to achieve this result is well known. Two narrow drafted margins were marked on the short sides of the stone, by means of two rulers and a chisel, so that they were parallel and on the same level (Figure 64a-b). Then the margins were also cut along the long sides of the stone to join all them in a single frame (Figure 64c). Finally, the surfaces of the stones that were to join each other were regularised. This process allowed the stones to fit each other correctly and have a good alignment, especially vertically, with no need to level the whole surface: in fact, the outer surface of the stone remained roughly shaped 66

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Figure 65a-b: Rusticated masonry in the aqueduct of Jerwan, 7th century BC.

in the centre. This process had its own decorative effect, but the primary goal of the masons was to make the placement of the stones more effective, saving time and work without losing anything in terms of regularity and the solidity of the wall. For this reason, this technique could often have been unevenly applied on a surface, depending on the actual needs. Sometimes the term anathyrosis, used to describe a similar method of stone-working in ancient Greece (Höcker 2006), is also applied to the Near Eastern masonry technique (Nylander 1970: 60; Dunham 2001: 296), although this term should be more properly used to indicate only the finished frame (Lugli 1988: 207). It is noteworthy that this technique is often associated, in the archaeology of the Near East, to the Achaemenian period and, in particular, to the Greek influence (Lydians and Ionians were actually employed on Achaemenian construction projects), therefore considered as being unrelated to the previous Mesopotamian production. Actually, the technique is very ancient (in Egypt it is attested at least since the Early Bronze Age ‒ Arnold 2003: 18), and, in Mesopotamia it is well documented at least from the Neo-Assyrian period. For example, the archaeologists who first dug the Jerwan aqueduct described this technique, suggesting that the rusticated effect was due to a particular way to operate on the worksite (Figure 65a-b): ‘A deep layer of stone chips at the foot of each façade bears witness to the fact that these facing stones were worked by masons in situ. A similar impression is given by the fact that the mason in many cases adjusted the face of a stone to that of its neighbour only along the joint and left a tough projecting mass in the middle, thereby giving the appearance of intentional rustication’ (Jacobsen, Lloyd 1935: 9). Examples of similar masonry are also known from Nineveh, where T. Madhloom described them in structures excavated at the Mashki Gate, where the raised wall rested on a plinth of six stones arranged in sloping courses, each protruding about 25 cm towards the outside of the upper stone, and described by the author as being characterised by its ‘trimmed edges’ (Madhloom 1969: 4547, pls. 13b, 14a-b). Arches, vaults and domes The architects of ancient Mesopotamia contributed greatly to the development of compression systems: arches and vaults in particular are, in fact, among the most characteristic elements of Mesopotamian buildings. The basic structure is the arch, i.e. any curved architectural load-bearing element that spans an opening (Figure 66). Its structural advantage consists in the capacity of each of its masonry elements to transfer vertical loads laterally to the adjacent elements and the abutment, resulting in a great resistance to compression. Its main drawback, however, results from the 67

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fact that it always requires great attention during its construction, it not being stable until completed. Leonardo da Vinci summarised this perfectly when he wrote that the ‘arch is nothing but a strength that derives from two weaknesses, because the arch in constructions is composed of two parts of circles, and each of these circles is very weak and wants to fall, but because one opposes the fall of the other the two weaknesses turn into one strength.’ (translated from the original Italian text cited in Bruschi 1978: 292). Even after the construction is finished, the arch does not discharge the weight vertically but directs it to Figure 66: The components of an arch: extrados (a); the sides; this produces stresses in the key-stone (b); intrados (c); impost (d); spring-line (e); structure that turn into continuous rise (f). settlements (this is the meaning of the well-known Arabic proverb – ‘the arch never sleeps’). The most ancient known solution is the construction of a temporary support on which to rest the bottom of the arch, usually defined as ‘centring’, ‘arch centre’, or ‘false work’. This support could be a simple stack of bricks, stones or pressed earth, or a wooden form to support the arch during construction – and for some days after the completion of the work (see the figures in Besenval 1984: pl. 18a; Kubba 1987: fig. 253; Van Beek 1987: 98). Some intermediate structures were probably experimented with before realising the arch proper: e.g. the system employing two oblique beams, joined at the top, with or without a connecting element. Structures of this type were probably also in use in Mesopotamia, even if there is little direct evidence (see the section of the fired brick sewer at Nippur, published in McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: 79.3). The existence of these structures can also be assumed on the basis of iconographic sources and various objects (i.e. the censer found at Tepe Gawra level III, whose triangular openings possibly reproduce windows ‒ Kubba 1987: 151). Arches can be classified based on different criteria: their shape, the number of their centres, their workmanship, and the materials used to build them. Although sorting according to the number of centres is highly significant when analysing the development of building techniques, shape proves to be a more effective and practical criterion. In fact, in many cases in which analysis is based only on the existing graphic and written documentation (that can sometimes be rough, in the case of early and/or not fully published excavation reports), shape allows for a more consistent description, minimising the risk of misrepresentations. Many and varied examples of arch-types are known from ancient Mesopotamian buildings, mainly rounded, segmental (i.e. with a circular intrados less than 180o), and the camber (i.e. almost flat) arch (Figure 67). Some other shapes could be listed in the repertoire, such as the pointed segmental (e.g. in Ashur – Haller 1954: fig. 143), the round rampant (e.g. in Eshnunna – Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pl. 69a-b), and the catenary and/or parabolic (e.g. in Ashur – Haller 68

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Figure 67a-b: Examples of arches: round arch, Guzana, 1st millennium BC (a); segmental arch, Ashur, 1st millennium BC (b); camber arch, Karana, 2nd millennium BC (c).

1954: fig. 148). However, these are more sporadic and uncommon cases that are difficult to exactly assess on the basis of just the published documentation available. Especially as regards the catenary and parabolic arches, it is difficult to define these types without direct analysis and accurate measurement of the structures concerned: a catenary arch is modelled on a U-shaped curve corresponding to that of an idealized chain when it is supported only at its ends. It looks very similar to a parabolic arch, but it is not the same, because this latter follows a true parabola. From a certain point of view, it might be unnecessary to distinguish the two types in the ancient architecture, since the first conscious and voluntary application of the catenary curve for the construction of the arches is due to the works of Robert Hooke in the 1670s (Matthews, B. 2019: 272-273). In ancient times, therefore, the two forms could only be realized on an empirical basis (it is no coincidence that one of the most famous arch of the antiquity, that is the Taq-i-Kisra, was initially described by the archaeologists as parabolic, but it is actually a rough but not exact catenary – see Trautz 1998: 96-98). However, the two arches behave differently, and they should be exactly described through accurate measurements that also take into account the materials used. Otherwise, the calculation is rather difficult if based only on a rough and cursory graphic documentation. Whatever the form, an important technical evolution was represented by the construction of the so called voussoir arches, that are those made with increasingly inwardangled layers of wedge-shaped bricks (voussoirs) in full contact with one another, with no need to insert potsherds or small stones under the outer edges of the voussoirs (the example reproduced in Figure 66 is a voussoir arch). The discovery that the arch existed in ancient Mesopotamian architecture produced amazement in the first half of the last century. At Girsu, in the 1930s, H. de Genouillac excavated a structure already identified by E. de Sarzec (Figure 68). This had a brick arch that was at first dated to the Sasanian period. The local workers refused to complete the excavation because they believed that it was the access to a den of evil spirits (in fact the name by which the structure is known in the literature is Port du diable, deriving from the Arabic Bab el-Jin). The excavations revealed that it was a structure with three arches in sequence, and that they covered a path that led to an increasingly low level. The excavation was never completed, but the finds seem to date the structure unequivocally to the Early Dynastic period (Cros 1910: 272-276; de Genouillac 1934: 71-72). In the same year the Port du diable was published, L. Woolley presented the results of his excavations at the Royal Cemetery at Ur, and emphasised the wonder he experienced when 69

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Figure 68: The Porte du diable, Girsu, 3rd millennium BC.

he discovered arches and vaults in buildings of the 3rd millennium BC. Here is his description of tomb PG/777: ‘The first of the stone-built tombs found by us, I was astonished to recognise in the tumbled stonework evidence of the chamber having been roofed with a vault; from the position in which the stones lay it seemed almost certain that this had been so, but it was none the less difficult to believe in so revolutionary a conclusion.’ (Woolley 1934: 232). It is not by chance that the above-mentioned examples concern underground structures. Because of the difficulties in the construction phase, the first experiments are likely to have been carried out during the building of structures that were beneath the ground surface, where the effects of lateral earth pressure were overcome by working inside enclosed spaces – within the pits the structures were built. In a way, the vault can be considered as a sequence of adjacent arches. In practice it is any curved covering that does not use internal supports to cover the space. The vaults can be divided between simple (when the intradox is continuous) and complex (when the intradox is 70

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segmented). The main vault-types of Mesopotamian architecture were built of brick as a rule, and were the so called ‘barrel vault’ and ‘pitched vault’ (Figure 69). The barrel vault was the simplest type, consisting of a series of round Figure 69: Barrel vault (a) and pitched vault (b). arches placed side by side. In some cases, sophisticated multi-ring arches were used (Figure 70). In this case, the arches need to be particularly well constructed, because the joints between rings form potential plans of weackness. Another type of vault was the pitched one, already in use at the end of the 3rd millennium BC (an example excavated at Karana dates to c. 2100 BC ─ Oates, J. 1986: 48, fig. 28). With this type of vault, bricks were placed vertically and leaned (pitched) at an angle: for this reason no centring was needed. The bricks used for pitched vaults were usually lighter than those used for barrel vaults, both

Figure 70: Vault of the gateway into Nabuchdnezar’s palace, Babylon, 6th century BC.

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because they were smaller and thinner as a rule, and also because a considerable amount of straw was mixed in with the mud (Besenval 1984: pls. 12-14; Wright 1985: fig. 287; Kubba 1987, fig. 244; Van Beek 1987: 99). It is important to note that the construction of such a vault is not at all simple; it requires great skill and competence to lay the bricks with the exact curvature needed (Houben, Guillaud 1994: 290). As far as the domes is concerned, no archaeological evidences have been found yet in excavations in Mesopotamia. However, it can be assumed that the dome was used as a roofing method in antiquity, on the basis of the iconographic evidences (one of the best example concerns the domed buildings represented in some Assyrian reliefs, that are very similar to the contemporary corbelled domes typical of the vernacular architecure of Northern Syria – see Tunca, Rutten 2009: 33-34). It is therefore possible that many structures with round plans, such as the Halaf tholoi and many later examples, were covered with domed roofings, and it is hoped that future researches will provide reliable evidence of this type of roofing. Pillars and columns The substantial difference between the ‘pillar’ and the ‘column’ is that the former is made of stone as a rule, and its section is not necessarily circular. The column, instead, has generally a circular section, and it can be made of different materials (stone, wood, brick, etc.). It has essentially a static function but sometimes also a purely decorative one, and, above all, is characterised by a subdivision into three distinct elements: base, shaft, and capital. The shaft is rarely an individual element, being generally composed of multiple drums. In Mesopotamia, the earliest noteworthy examples are the Neolithic pillars excavated at sites in south-eastern Turkey, i.e. Nevalı Çori and Gobekli Tepe (Hauptmann 1993; 1999; Hauptmann, Schmidt 2007). At these sites, T-shaped limestone monoliths stood forming circular enclosures, being connected one to another by means of stone walls. Two pillars towered over the others at the centre of the building as a rule. The T-shape has been interpreted as an anthropomorphic motif, as suggested by the relief decorations of some of them (see the example from Nevalı Çori in Figure 71). It is interesting to note how other Neolithic

Figure 71: Stone T-pillar from da Nevalı Çori, 9th millennium BC. Limestone, height c. 230 cm.

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builders, in regions where the availability of stone was much less, developed the construction technique in a sort of concrete obtained by mixing and compressing compacted marl and clay. Such is the case of the pillars from a structure excavated at Nemrik in northern Iraq (see the ‘concrete-like pillars’ in Kozłowski, Kempisty 1990: 357). Further south, the earliest known examples are more recent, datable to the al-Ubaid period, as is the case of a pillar (or column) supporting a porch in front of the Eridu temple of level IX. Although it is not clearly specified in the excavation report, it is likely that the pillar/column was in the same mud-brick as the rest of the structure (Lloyd, Safar 1948: 119-120). In general, these elements did not really serve to support coverings, i.e. large weights, but, above all, they had a decorative function or were used to create porticos (Collon 1969: 16). A particular case is that of a series of brick columns that divide longitudinally a space more than 27 m long inside the Early Dynastic palace of Kish. There were no footings to these columns, thus it is possible they were later additions (Mackay 1929: 95, pl. 37, 2-3). Some particular types can be singled out, characteristic of regions, periods, and especially architectural contexts, that can be very different from each other. Occasionally the columns were made of wood, and therefore the archaeological remains are scarce and limited to traces of post-holes, impressions on mud-bricks, and from information from indirect sources (written sources and iconography). An exceptional case is that of the 3rd-millennium BC remains of a column from al-Ubaid, now in the British Museum: the core of the column was made of palm wood, which has been preserved. The shaft was composed of drums covered with a bituminous paste with inlays of various materials, giving a strong decorative effect and allowing a good preservation of the interior (Figure 72). Most of the preserved remains involve brick structures. The possibility of moulding bricks resulted in an extreme variety of products used for building columns: some bricks were shaped

Figure 72: Mosaic column made of drums, from the Temple of Ninhursag at al-Ubaid, mid 3rd millennium BC. Core of palm wood, shale (black), mother-of-pearl, limestone (pink), copper, bitumen, height 115 cm. The British Museum, n. 116760.

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Figure 73: Moulded columns with spiral profile in the northern façade of the temple at Shubat-Enlil, 18th century BC.

in a very simple way, just to get the desired circular profile (Figure 32a), otherwise they could be more complex and create sophisticated profiles, such as imitating palm-tree trunks and coils, as represented in the façade of the 3rd-millennium BC temple excavated at ShubatEnlil (Figure 73). The coiled or tortile profile is also interesting for its technical implications, as it demonstrates the ability to project the helical screw profile in three dimensions (see pages 22-23). As well as at Shubat-Enlil, the palm-tree form is well represented in the very sophisticated brickwork of the 19th-century BC columns that decorated the east façade of the temple adjacent to the ziggurat of Karana (for a detailed description and diagrammatic reconstruction, see Oates, D. 1967: 88; 1990: fig. 4). It is probable that most wooden columns were set on a flat stone or a slab to reduce pressure, but unfortunately we have scant information from excavations. Heavy columns could have stone bases, some of these being excavated from Neo-Assyrian contexts (Figure 74); we have very few remains of capitals (probably because they were largely wooden), known mainly thanks to iconographic representations (Figure 75). Especially in the Neo-Assyrian reliefs, the impression is that models from the West were largely copied. An exceptional case is that of the Iron Age basalt statues used as columns in Guzana (Figure 76). Three human figures, c. 3 m in height, stood above bases shaped as animals, and were connected to the architrave by 74

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Figure 74: Stone column base from Residence K at Dur-Sharrukin, 8th century BC. Basalt, max diam. c. 25 cm. Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, n. A17558.

Figure 75: Openwork furniture plaque with a ‘woman at the window’. Kalhu, 8th century BC. Ivory, height 7.19 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 59.107.18.

Figure 76: Columns shaped as human figures from Guzana, reconstructed at the entrance of the Archaeological Museum of Aleppo, (a) and graphic section of the first and second passages of the palace (b), 9th century BC.

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means of conical capitals. These, and other examples from Syria and south-eastern Anatolia, suggest a strong western influence in the production of monumental columns during the 1st millennium BC, with the circulation of ideas and craftsmen made easier by Assyrian conquests following their military expeditions. Openings Openings are first distinguished by two main categories – doors and windows. We have only little evidence of the latter, although the presence of windows in buildings is certain, both because they were obviously necessary, and because they are represented in iconographic sources such as seals and stone reliefs. On the basis of the available sources, we can assume that the shape of the windows was usually rectangular, possibly surmounted by an arch, even though there are indications of the existence of circular openings (e.g. at Umm Dabaghyiah, as quoted by Kirkbride 1975: 7). They were probably placed in the upper part of the wall, close to the ceilings, and it is likely that their main function was to ensure Figure 77: A backed clay grille, probably used for a ventilation and air exchange rather than window, from Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC. Clay, to let in the light. This is also suggested 55 × 47 cm. Excavation n. As 32. 1186. by the fact that, in some cases, the light was shaded by types of terracotta grids, allowing a good passage of air but not light, as in the case of the find from Eshnunna, reproduced in Figure 77. Ventilation systems would deserve specific analysis, despite the scarce archaeological evidence. In some cases, the air change was perhaps also favoured by vertical pottery ducts inserted into the walls, which took air from the outside, at the top, and carried it inside, through blowholes at floor height; a possible example of a system of this kind has been hypothesised at Mari (Parrot 1958a: fig. 342). A very interesting find is that of the 2nd-millennium BC ‘Arch House’ at Eshnunna (Figure 78). It is a particularly well-preserved example of wall with window, although the construction was very modest. The archaeologists recognised traces of burnt wooden lintels inside the window (dark grey in the section). Lintels supporting the bricks had collapsed on the top (the use of wood

Figure 78: A window at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC: front (a), section (b).

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for making openings dates to the Neolithic; see, e.g., the door-frames from Buqras in Aurenche 1981b: 18). When discussing doors, we must note first that the term may actually designate quite different elements (Kubba 1987: 151: ‘Door opening is a rather vague term, and this discussion will include gates, door frames, sockets and any other components or door furniture.’). This is a research topic that deserves more attention than it has received to date due to the variety and extent of archaeological finds. City gates are treated below, within the section on fortifications, while here the doors of buildings are looked at, both in domestic and monumental architecture, with particular reference to their doorframes, thresholds, and locks. The doors of dwellings were usually very small and narrow, evidently to make the enclosed space more protected and less accessible to outsiders and weathering. Examples such as the Neolithic house excavated at Tell Buqras (Akkermans, Fokkens, Waterbolk 1981: 499) were barely practicable. If the span to be covered was larger than that of a simple window, wooden beams or arches could be used, as in the 3rd-millennium BC example at Eshnunna (Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: 69b). In some cases, archaeological evidence suggests the existence of very sophisticated wooden panelling for the door-frames: this is the case of a door of Court 106 at Mari, in which buttresses in the walls where a door was positioned have been interpreted as a sort of support for a complex structure in wooden poles (Parrot 1958a: figs. 88-89 and pls. 2324). As for the panels, it is likely that they were, in most cases, not wooden structures as such, but by using leather, fabric, or woven reeds. An example of the latter is reported by Kubba (1987: 152), quoting a manuscript concerning the excavations at Tell es-Sawan. From Ur see also a fragment of wood frame with reed stems in the Gi-par-ku, as well as the bottom part of a door in the so-called Nin-shubur Chapel, published in Woolley 1965: fig. 2 and Woolley 1976: fig. 39 respectively). Finally, it is worth mentioning that a Neo-Sumerian cuneiform text from Garshana refers to bitumen associated with gypsum used for door coating (Sauvage 2011a: 4). The closing systems have been analysed more on the basis of epigraphic references than archaeological remains, which are very rare (a synthesis, even if a little dated, is in Potts 1990; an example of a typical Mesopotamian lock system, with bolt, lock, pins and key, is reproduced in fig. A). A noteworthy case is that of the 4th-millennium BC levels of Arslantepe, where, thanks to the impressions of cretulae and other excavation remains, it was possible to recognise the existence of different types of locks: the simplest ones consisted of a wooden peg fastened in the wall next to the door, to which a rope was attached that was in turn tied to a stake. More sophisticated systems included the use of real wooden bolts (examples in Ferioli, Fiandra 2007: 90-105). We have few examples of the excavated remains of doors from monumental buildings, however the iconography, especially, offers some clues to help reconstruct their shape (a particularly interesting example is known from an Assyrian ivory pyxis, in which the upper profile of the door is arched − Figure 79). The most well-known archaeological find is that of the ‘Balawat Gates’ (Figure 80), where at least three different sets of gate remains are indicated, all of them found in the 9th-century BC levels of ancient Imgur-Enlil. These remains are currently held by different museums, the British Museum having the largest set, with smaller pieces in the archaeological museums of Mosul, Istanbul, and Baltimore. The supporting wooden parts of the gates are lost, but large sections of the bronze decoration are still preserved. The gates 77

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Figure 79: Incised cosmetic box fragments with representation of a vaulted city gate. Kalhu, 9th-8th century BC. Ivory, height 4.8 cm. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, n. 54.117.11a,b.

Figure 80: Reconstruction of the Balawat Gates at the British Museum. Imgur-Enlil, 9th century BC. The British Museum, n. 124681.

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Figure 81: Door socket. Nippur, late 3rd millennium BC. Diorite, max. length c. 45 cm. Penn Museum, n. B8751.

restored and integrated in the British Museum were decorated with embossed bronze bands, c. 27 cm high, applied to the panels and arranged horizontally in eight registers. Their function was not only decorative: they also prevented the wooden panels from fire. The decoration reproduces scenes from the military campaigns of Shalmanasar III (9th century BC). The panels were connected to imposing poles which were fixed vertically in the ground and rotated on stone bases (for the locking system of this type of gate, see Unger 1913: 10). Examples of bronze pivot-casings were found in Assyria. They served to protect the end of the posts that were in contact with the pivot-stones (see Andrae 1909: figs. 42 and 73, and Curtis, Tallis 2008: figs. 46-47). Preserved examples of stone hinges are numerous, starting from the Early Bronze Age (Figure 81), whereas finds of monumental lintels are very rare. Exceptionally, we have the stone lintel, found by G. Smith, from a doorway of Sennacherib’s 7th-century BC palace at Nineveh (British Museum no. 118896, published in Smith 1875: 308); however the style of decoration suggests a dating to a later period, with Parthian or Sasanian commonly accepted today. Staircases Few remains of staircases are preserved in domestic architecture, most likely wooden ladders being used, while more numerous examples are known from monumental complexes, especially terraces and ziggurats (Figure 82). Regardless of construction type, region and history, staircases were built, as a rule, mostly from sun-dried bricks, with only the external coating and steps employing fired bricks or stone (a well preserved example of monumental staircase made of large basalt steps, is the one in the 3rd-millennium BC ‘Main Street’ of Nabada – Lebeau, Suleiman 2002: 20 and fig. 99). The steps, at least in some cases, could be covered with other materials, such as wood. However, there is no clear archaeological evidence for this; even the wood covering of ‘staircase 34’ from Palace A at Kish, which is often quoted in literature, is actually only a hypothesis formulated by the archaeologists who excavated it, and not supported by findings (Mackay 1929: 91). It can be assumed that there were many 79

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Figure 82: Remains of the western stone stairs to the terrace of the Nin-hursag temple at al-Ubaid, on a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936, late 3rd millennium BC.

more types of architectural solutions than we know of, especially if we consider that a certain variety is evidenced in the archaeological remains: a good example is the extravagant staircase in a temple at Tutub, described by H. Frankfort as ‘... a curious and elaborate affair [...] showing that predilection for curvature which seems characteristic of the Early Dynastic period’ (Frankfort 1936: 25), or the stairs of the hemicycle in the palace at Mari (Parrot 1958a: 62). The advanced engineering skills of the Mesopotamian architects is evident in a staircase excavated at Nippur (Figure 83). The description made by the archaeologists deserves to be quoted at some length: ‘It was Figure 83: Mud-brick staircase, built over an arched structure in constructed of unbaked bricks the ‘TA House’ at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC. 80

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Figure 84: The Double escalier, Girsu, late 3rd millennium BC.

laid against the walls of the room before they were plastered. The risers and treads of the steps, the soffits and the wall faces of the stairway and the walls of the room were plastered at the same time. It is interesting to note that an element as important as the stairway was not located when the house was planned. Only after the damp course was in place and the house-plan was visible did the builders decide on the layout of the stairs and block up the illplaced opening in the wall between the kitchen and the stair hall.’ (McCown, Haines, Hansen et al. 1967: 61). Further examples of staircases supported by brick arches are known from sites of the 2nd millennium BC, above all Tell Brak (Oates, D. 1987: fig. 5) and Karana (Oates, D. 1968: 120-121). An unparalleled example, finally, is that of the so-called ‘Double escalier’ at Girsu (Figure 84), where three ramps of brick steps were actually superimposed on one another and separated by layers of compacted earth (Cros 1910: 95). It is unclear whether this was an expedient to strengthen this particular structure, or whether the lower ramps are simply the remains of previous ones, which were then covered by earth over time. In any event, the remains of staircases found in archaeological contexts are still insufficient to allow typological analyses, and exhaustive and analytical surveys of the available data are still needed to provide an effective typological and chronological sorting. Domestic and urban structures for water management Structures dedicated to water management can first be differentiated between those related to the water supply of individual buildings, within settlements, and the large infrastructures intended for the carrying of water over long distances; the latter are dealt with below (pages 114-117). Among the structures of the first type, the following main systems can be recognised in Mesopotamia: a) wells; b) ducts, pipes and gutters; c) lavatories, etc. (other categories, e.g. cisterns, are attested only exceptionally ‒ Wilson 2012: pl. 7b). Wells. The first known wells have been identified in the early Pre-Pottery Neolithic levels on Cyprus, dated c. 9th/8th millennium BC, and some slightly more recent examples in the Levant. In Mesopotamia we have clear evidence from the Hassuna and Samarra periods, around the 6th millennium BC (Garfinkel 2010: 39; Wilkinson 2010: 34-36). In all cases, these early wells were simply dug, not drilled, and therefore could only reach aquifers close to the surface: they have not left easily recognisable traces for archaeological investigations. In fact, clear evidence 81

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Figure 85: The top of a fired brick well shaft, more than 30 m deep, Ashur, c. 11th century BC.

of these structures exists only from the Early Dynastic period, when brick wells began to be built (examples are known at Ur, Mari, Lagash ‒ Forbes 1964: 150). It should be stressed that, even for these very early and apparently simple structures, their construction was the result of great collective efforts. Y. Garfinkel (2010: 40) sums up the sequence of phases required to build a well: a) digging the pit; b) removing the sediment; c) collecting and transporting volumes of stones for the well lining; d) continued cleaning and maintenance. Examples of wells found by archaeologists, however, indicate that their construction could also be very sophisticated, especially from the 2nd millennium BC. This is suggested both by the great depth reached (e.g. the Ashur well at Figure 85, with a calculated depth exceeding 30 m), and the technical solutions adopted for the masonry. Also from Ashur, is the well (c. 10 m deep) built by the Assyrian ruler Ashurnadinake II at in the 15th century BC. Its construction is recorded in a cuneiform text (Fales 1976b: 147), informing us that the structure was reinforced with limestone, bitumen and fired bricks, at least in the part that remained under water. It seems that the use of underground cisterns was never developed, at least until the Hellenistic age (unlike in the Levant and Palestine ‒ De Geus 2003: 119-133). This had probably something to do with the consistency of the soil types, which, across most of Mesopotamia (unlike Western regions), is not suitable for the excavation of tanks, which obviously require very non-porous soils. Ducts, pipes and gutters. In terms of canalisation and drainage facilities within individual buildings and settled areas, the archaeological evidence we have of ducts and pipes is plentiful and allows us to understand how these types of structures developed from the Neolithic, adopting different and often sophisticated technical solutions. C. Hemker’s systematic analysis of these structures (1993) presents some main types. Ducts collected water and ran it generally in channels in the middle of the streets. The ducts could be mud-brick, stone, or a combination, lined and covered, as a rule, with stones or bricks (Figure 86). Large pottery pipes were also used – cylindrical-shaped, often slightly convex, joined to form rows of rings along the route and used mainly for water outflow down vertical stretches (Figure 87). The ceramic pipes could also be narrow and long, similar to Roman tubuli and known from protohistoric times, used along horizontal routes, both for simple runoff and linking different structures, such as wells. 82

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Figure 86: Stone duct at Hadatu, joined with mortar, coated with bitumen and covered with bricks, early 1st millennium BC.

Figure 87: 3rd-millennium BC drain pipes at Girsu.

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Figure 88: Knee and T-clay joins found in the excavation of the Temple of Bel at Nippur, 3rd millennium BC.

These tubes are often characterised by profiles with indents and undercuts that change their diameter, and thus allow them to be joined. In some cases ‘knee’ and T-joints were also used to give angled connections (Figure 88, and see Hemker 1993: figs. 342-346 for a wider selection of examples). In many excavations, such as at Hadatu (above, Figure 86), bitumen was found to have been used as a filler and to cover the surfaces of drains to aid waterproofing. In addition to the already mentioned ‘wheeper holes’ (page 63), water drainage was probably also facilitated by eaves and gutters, of which however we have very few remains (see Parrot 1958a: fig. 167 for a fragmentary stone gutter from Mari). Exceptions are the brick drainage channels that ran water along the external surfaces of monumental buildings, e.g. the ziggurat at Eridu (Figure 89). Personal hygiene and lavatories. We know that structures functioning as toilets, lavatories and washing areas in private dwellings existed already in the late 4th millennium BC (e.g. finds at Habuba Kabira ‒ Hemker 1993: figs. 33-45). However,

Figure 89: Brick drainage canal in the ziggurat at Eridu, late 3rd millennium BC.

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Figure 90: Toilet coated with bitumen in a private house at Eshnunna, 3rd millennium BC.

the documentation in the excavation reports is often rather sparse. A study by A.R. George (2015) took stock of the available finds dating to the Early Babylonian period. He documented several cases of sit-on type lavatories which could drain directly into their own seepage pits by means of underfloor channels. One of the best preserved and documented examples was excavated at Eshnunna, datable to the 3rd millennium BC: it is a brick structure connected to a ceramic pipeline, sealed with bitumen in the parts most in contact with water (Figure 90). We know even less about the facilities dedicated to ablutions, both public and private. Exceptions are the lavatories excavated in the Assyrian palace of Dur-Sharrukin and which were, therefore, intended for the exclusive use of personages of rank: from the point of view of building technique, the most interesting feature is the existence of a brick mopboard baked to cover the dado of a room to ensure a good moisture protection (Loud, Altman 1938: pl. 36d. A similar example was found also in the 13th-century BC palace of Adad-Nirari I at Kahat ‒ Pecorella, Pierobon Benoit 2005: 64). As well as the above-mentioned categories, the 1st-millennium BC pools excavated by W. Andrae in a civil open space at Ashur are worth mentioning (Figure 91). These structures included a series of shallow artificial pools connected by an internal channelling system: they were dug into the ground in tiered pits and coated with stone. In the absence of alternative hypotheses, these can perhaps be interpreted as pools for ablutions, a kind of spa ante litteram, although no traces of water treatment and heating facilities were found (Andrae 1938: 155). Pavements, ceilings and roofs As for floorings, two main categories can be distinguished: pavements consisting of a solid and uniform surface, substantially beaten earth and/or lime; and pavements obtained by covering the ground level with different paving units, usually made of stone, brick, or wood. For the former there are many excavated examples, dating back from the Neolithic, both with beaten earth and with a base of plaster or lime. It is likely that they were covered with mats or reeds, of which however almost no trace ever survives. An exceptional case is that of an early 4thmillennium BC granary excavated at Tell el-Oueili (Forest 1996: fig. 43), where archaeologists found the remains of a bedding layer made of two strata of reeds, twisted together to form a ‘grillage’ and covered by a layer of beaten earth. It is possible that, at least in some cases, the reeds were used under the decking, as a sort of loose foundation for moisture protection (an hypothesis formulated by B. Abu al-Soof and reported by Kubba 1987: 146). The draining 85

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Figure 91: Artificial pools in front of the temple at Ashur, first half of the 1st millennium BC.

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Figure 92: Pebble mosaic pavement at Til Barsip, 9th-8th century BC.

effect could also be realised by means of a bedding layer made of sherds, as with the example from Eshnunna (Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pl. 82a). In terms of pavements made with paving units, these were usually brick, preferably fired, while the use of stone remained limited to exceptional cases and was dedicated to specific elements, such as thresholds, entrances, terraces, road pavements, etc. In some cases moisture protection was obtained using bitumen and bitumen-based mastics in the interstices of the bricks or stones. This technique spread, especially from the Kassite period (mid 2nd millennium BC), although the use of bitumen for paving, as a layer covering simple earth floors, is known already in the Neolithic (e.g. Tell Maghzalya ‒ Kubba 1987: 146). Finally, a particular example of flooring is represented by the pebble mosaics, in chequerboard pattern (Figure 92), that have been identified at several Assyrian sites (9th-7th centuries BC), mainly in northern Syria (Til Barsip, Hadatu) and south-eastern Anatolia (Tille Höyük, Tushan), as well as Assyria (Ashur). It is thus far impossible to say with certainty whether this was an original Assyrian production, which later spread westwards, or was a technique adopted by Assyrians after their conquest of the western Luwian-Aramaic states (Bunnes 2016). 87

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Figure 93: Roof and ceiling of a house at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.

As archaeological finds are rare, we have very little information on the technique of making ceilings and roofs. Wooden beams were already used in the Protohistoric period, as shown by findings such as those from Tell Madhur (Kubba 1987: 146) or Tell Buqras; at this site the excavations suggested the use of beams of poplar for supporting roofs (Van Zeist, WaterbolkVan-Rooijen 1985: 144). Even where the original materials are not preserved, remains of plaster with wooden beams or reeds may suggest that these two materials were used for the construction of ceilings and roofs. A particular case is that of the so-called ‘Room L’ at Tutub (Figure 93). Thanks to the discovery of the remains of beams burned in a fire in the 3rd millennium BC, archaeologists speculated a reconstruction of the roof and ceiling very similar to those currently in use in that region, with wooden beams for supporting mud roofing (Delougaz 1940: 133-136). The mud layer protected and made the structure stable at the same time. The diameter of the beams and stringers was calculated thanks to the curves preserved in burned clay impressions, as well as to fragments of wasp nests. The use of timber and reeds for various parts of buildings, including roofs, is also attested in several cuneiform sources, e.g., especially, the Neo-Sumerian archive at Gershana (see page 30). All in all, the finds of covering structures are too sporadic to allow in-depth analysis and define exactly all the building techniques used. For example, it is most likely that the openings needed for lighting were often in the roofs themselves, since there were certainly few windows in the walls. Unfortunately, the reconstruction of the upper part of the buildings often remain speculative (Figure 94; the different hypotheses of recontructions are discussed below, p. 109). Examples such as the terracotta model, datable to the end of the Protohistoric period, and found during a survey in the Uruk region, clearly show an opening in the roof (Adam, Nissen 1972: fig. 83). For the record, there is no definite evidence of the existence in ancient Mesopotamia of the ‘king truss’, a very efficient system for discharging loads through the king post and struts, guaranteeing the structure’s shape retention (Giuliani 2008: 90). Hypotheses for the existence of other elementary trusses remain at present unsupported. 88

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Figure 94: Two possible reconstructions of a 2nd-millennium BC house at Ur.

In general, however, it is necessary to emphasise that the actual archaeological evidence obliges us to consider most of the covering systems proposed conjectural, especially when trying to hypothesise particular entablatures.

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Building types Form and function: some interpretation issues ‘The main functions of architectural structures are determined by the more or less large and empty spaces they delimit, preventing the entry of environmental agents and thus creating special artificial spaces. The set of structures, therefore, serves to define, from a functional point of view, these empty spaces in the best way, but their primary function, for this purpose, is to establish and maintain a static equilibrium over time.’ (translated from the original Italian text in Mannoni 2005: 12). The functional analysis of a building is closely linked to the study of the characteristics of its construction technique, usually determined by the need to achieve a particular static effect, and thus make the building suitable for the function for which it was designed. In an archaeological context, the identification of construction techniques adopted by ancient architects can help us to understand the function of the structure concerned; at the same time, clear evidence concerning the general function of a building can help to reconstruct and interpret building elements that are incomplete, or isolated in the archaeological context, and therefore not perfectly understandable. Analysing ancient architecture according to functional typologies is a practice that often suffers from the unconscious application of preconceptions and the consequent definition of pre-established models. It is also strongly affected by the need (which, in the case of the archaeologist, sometimes verges on compulsive obsession) to catalogue and order taxonomically everything that can be recorded: the result is the application of labels that, instead of defining exactly the object of the analysis, often force its interpretation to ensure it meets the needs of an already defined model. In addition, it should be noted that our current ‘functional categories’ do not necessarily coincide with those that determined the form of an ancient building. We can say that the function of a house is always ‘to be inhabited’, but this will certainly have different meanings in other parts of the world, at different times, different social contexts, etc. This also applies for non-domestic types, such as ‘temples’ and ‘palaces’. Finally, it must be remembered that one may venture to interpret the function of an ancient building only according to its morphological characteristics: the belief that the function of a building determines its form is a highly questionable methodological approach and presents all the risks typical of an ‘inductive’ analysis, in which the characteristics of the form are considered as premises that supply evidence of the supposed function (on the theme of the relationship between form and function in architecture there is a wide bibliography, for which some indications are given below in the Thematic Bibliography; for the archaeological context, see Trebsche 2009 in particular. See also Battini 2010 for an overview on the application of some archaeological theories to the comprehension of the domestic architecture, with bibliography). From this point of view, the architecture of ancient Mesopotamia lends itself very well to illustrating the inconsistencies and risks of such an approach. 90

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All this being said, it does not follow that the traditional functional categories used to classify the architectural types of buildings must be rejected, and, in fact, these are kept in the following text: the main point that the researcher, especially if a student or scholar who is not an architecture specialist, does not fall into the trap of considering these types more than they are, i.e. elementary and useful simplifications to allow the necessary sorting of data, but that require a certain flexibility be maintained. The aim of this chapter is not to provide an exhaustive and analytical picture of the Mesopotamian architectural evidence, but only to survey the main functional typologies traditionally adopted in archaeological classification, and to highlight how these can really be adapted to the Mesopotamian context. Furthermore, a reference bibliography is provided to allow the reader the necessary insights and comparisons. Before proceeding to a description of the individual ‘building types’, it is appropriate to define some general categories traditionally used for the organisation of archaeological repertoires: in particular, ‘religious’ and ‘palatial’ architecture: ‘temples’ and ‘palaces’, to put it simply. In the early 20th century, the archaeology of Mesopotamia was characterised by the discovery, in rapid succession, of important sites with remains of monumental buildings of the Protoliterate and Early Dynastic periods. In particular, at Eridu, Uruk and Tepe Gawra, the archaeologists brought to light some structures they defined as ‘temples’, giving a key to a reading that only a few decades later was questioned. These discoveries fascinated and affected the European and American cultured classes. The large buildings excavated in Mesopotamia often had characteristics similar to those of the great ancient religious buildings of the West, and therefore automatically became ‘temples’: a block of bricks at the end of a long room became the ideal podium for a statue of a divinity; another podium in the middle of the same room could be interpreted as an altar. Above all, the tripartite ‘T-plan’ of the al-Ubaid, and then Protoliterate, periods (Figure 95), with its long central room and a sort of transept at one of its ends, recalled so much the Latin cross that it was difficult to resist the temptation to interpret it as the plan for a religious building. Actually, this approach lends itself to methodological criticism, basically for two reasons: first, until we have significant written texts (i.e. practically from an advanced phase of the 3rd millennium BC), the function of the excavated buildings can be derived only from any excavated objects and from the general context of the excavation. Unfortunately, in most cases, excavations revealed only the foundations or little more, and the structures were in most of cases devoid of furniture, which probably had to be largely mobile. In the 1980s, a salvage excavation at Tell Madhur in the Hamrin region (Figure 96), revealed a

Figure 95: ‘Temple C’ of level IVa2 at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.

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T-shaped building with side rooms, similar to the structures already known from Eridu, Uruk and Tepe Gawra. However, the materials found inside the structure excavated at Tell Madhur suggested a distinctly different interpretation from that of a temple. The building had been burned in antiquity, and any valuable items had probably been removed before its collapse, but many everyday household items were still in situ at the time of excavation. The overall impression was that of a domestic dwelling, serving what can be described as an ‘extended family’ (Roaf 1989: 137-139). Second, it should be remembered that the very concepts of ‘temple’ and ‘palace’ are not unique, and it is not suggested that these categories be conceptually valid today in the same way as they were in ancient Mesopotamia. In the archaeological Figure 96: The T-plan building at Tell Madhur, 4th literature, the term ‘temple’ generally millennium BC. indicates a complex where religious, but also economic, activities were carried out by a certain category of people. This is, therefore, an interpretation which presupposes the existence of a clergy and a precise social structure. Actually, in the ancient world (not only Mesopotamian), the temple was basically ‘the house of the deity’, i.e. a sanctuary in the strict sense. It was the ‘cella’ of the building, that hosted the statue, or whatever symbol, of the deity. Even for palace, the term can be used to indicate the place where political power was administered, or the residence of the sovereign, or both. It is therefore very risky to try to recognise these characteristics in constructions, as with many of those excavated in Mesopotamia, especially in cases where there are no epigraphic documents to support such a functional interpretation. A more significant functional distinction, also from the point of view of construction techniques, is that between ‘private’ and ‘public’ buildings. There are several Neolithic settlements where archaeological excavations clearly revealed a strong dichotomy between a main group of modest buildings, which were likely dwelling structures, and individual buildings that differ because of their larger size, the type of plan, and also the construction materials and techniques employed to some extent. It seems that they were used by the whole community, as a meeting place, or for the storage of common goods. Buildings such as the bâtiments communitaires at Jerf al-Ahmar (Stordeur, Brenet, Der Aprahamian 2000), or the ‘Burnt House’ at Tell Arpachya (Mallowan, Rose 1935: 16) are examples of such structures. This dichotomy is particularly intriguing in the finds dating between the al-Ubaid and Protoliterate periods. For the first time during the al-Ubaid period, the buildings were 92

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designed with symmetric plans, with a central space, covered or not, and side rooms, according to a T-shaped or cruciform pattern (Aurenche 1981a: 43). Moreover, it was at the same time that some buildings began to differ from others within the same settlement, both in terms of their larger scale and their external perimeter, emphasised by buttresses and recesses (it should be remembered that there were sporadic examples of tripartite plans already in the Neolithic, such as in a building excavated at al-Kowm in Syria, datable to the 9th millennium BC ‒ Stordeur 1996: fig. 2). The building with T-shaped plan excavated at Tell Madhur has already been mentioned (page 91). In other cases, the finds from inside the buildings suggest instead that these buildings were actually the dwelling places of the most authoritative members of the community, or otherwise places of decision and discussion; an example is the late 5th-millennium BC building at Abada (Forest 1996: fig. 62), where numerous tokens were found, suggesting that there was an activity of exchange and/or registration of goods. It is useful to remember how the mudhif made of reeds, still in use in the Euphrates delta, is basically a meeting room for the community. Finally, the interpretation of buildings with T-plan as temples is very likely, at least in some cases, e.g. constructions built on high open terraces, such as the so-called ‘Painted Temple’ of Tell Uqair, or the ‘White Temple’ of Uruk. To sum up, functional interpretation can only be justified when there are written texts and/or elements of furniture, as well as characterising architectural remains. The analysis of building characteristics remains however fundamental, because different functional choices involve different materials and techniques, as a rule, especially with regard to the difference between domestic and monumental buildings, religious or not: the latter were built to stand out from the rest of the structures and, in principle, to last longer, compared to buildings for civil housing and for everyday production and trade activities. Ziggurats and temples As mentioned, the religious function of some buildings can securely be interpreted from the 3rd millennium BC, during the Early Dynastic period, when information from epigraphic sources complement the archaeological data. Ziggurats. Apparently, a true characteristic of monumental religious constructions is the terrace, or some form of open-air platform, on which the temple was erected – to place it above the surrounding buildings. It is not an indispensable element, since many temples were not built on raised terraces, but it is an element that recurs often. The most ancient examples are simple platforms, such as the late 4th-millennium BC ‘Painted Temple’ at Tell Uqair (Lloyd, Safar 1943) or the ‘White Temple’ of Uruk (Figure 97), already mentioned above. Developments included the ‘Temple Oval’ of Tutub (Figure 98) and this building process led to the construction of the ziggurat (see, however, Forest 1996: 133-139, who questions the interpretation of the first two examples). Large terraces, however, do not seem to be a prerogative of the Mesopotamian world, nor did they arise for the first time in the Protoliterate period (see, e.g., the large terrace discovered at Kamiltepe, Azerbaijan, datable to the 5th millennium BC ‒ Aliyev, Helwing 2009: fig. 11). In a certain sense, the ziggurat can be seen as the natural consequence of the use of mud-brick, given that the accumulation of bricks destroyed, or simply deteriorated, over time, 93

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Figure 97: The ‘White Temple’ on its ziggurat at Uruk, late 4th millennium BC.

Figure 98: The ‘Temple Oval’ of Tutub, first half of the 3rd millennium BC.

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produced the prototype of the future terrace, which gradually became a distinctive structure in its own right, realised according to well-defined plans and techniques. The ziggurat consisted of a stepped-terraced building, accessible at least up to a certain height by means of monumental staircases, and which featured a temple on top of the central and highest terrace. It had a core made of sun-dried bricks with, as a rule, an external coating of fired brick; the access systems were via staircases built according to patterns that can be very different depending on the site. Moreover, there is a substantial difference between the ziggurat built in a single block, in which the various steps reduce the surface of the structure as it rises, and the ziggurat where, instead, there is a higher central nucleus, surrounded by progressively lower concentric structures (e.g. Dur–Untash, Iran - Ghirshman 1966). The construction of the ziggurats began only in the 2nd millennium BC, and the name derives from the Akkadian saqru, ‘be high’. From this time on they were called etemenanki, or ‘the temple that links Heaven to Earth’. The first known examples date to the Neo-Sumerian period and southern Mesopotamian sites such as Ur, Nippur and Eridu. Later, this type of construction was also built in northern Mesopotamia and neighbouring regions. In total, about 30 ziggurats have been identified, of which only about half have actually been the object of significant archaeological excavations (Roaf 1990: 104-105, with a distribution map). A few ancient graphic reproductions of ziggurats are known. In addition to the schematic example reproduced on the above-mentioned tablet in the British Museum (BM 38217; Figure 19a in this volume), there is also the relief sculpture from the palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, on which a ziggurat, perhaps in Elam, was represented (the bronze structure, decorated with bucrania, and other such features, is reported in cuneiform sources as standing in the sanctuary of Susa ‒ Oates, J. 1986: 119). Unfortunately, the original relief panel was lost in 1854 when the raft transporting it to Bassora sank, but the depicted scene was reproduced in a famous drawing made by W. Boutcher (Parrot 1949: fig. 18; Oates, J. 1986: fig. 80). Ziggurats depended, of course, on immense collective work. For example, M. Sauvage calculated the use of about 36,000,000 bricks for the most famous ziggurat – the etemenanki at Babylon (Sauvage 1998b: 56). This is probably the monument which, in the collective imagination, best represents the Near East overall, thanks to an important biblical passage (Genesis 11, 1-9), as well as to its description by Herodotus. At the same time, the ziggurat of Babylon is the least useful for an analysis of building aspects – it being completely lost. We know its first construction phase is dated in the 2nd millennium BC, during the Old-Babylonian period. The Assyrian king Sennacherib claimed that he dismantled it at the beginning of the 7th century BC, and its reconstruction, begun already under Esarhaddon, lasted until the period of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, under Nabuchdnezar II (6th century BC). A large temenos, equipped with monumental portals, surrounded the ziggurat. Today only the foundations and traces of the flights of stairs are preserved (Figure 99). The square base measured c. 91 m and the height had to be similar. It had at least six superimposed terraces, with a small temple on the top, where, according to Herodotus, there was ‘… a large bed, adorned with beautiful drapes and, next to it, a table of gold’ (Histories I, 181). Here the annual sacred wedding took place on New Year’s Day. Apart from doubts about the veracity of Herodotus’ account (who probably never saw the Babylon ziggurat, which was almost completely destroyed in the 5th century BC ‒ MacGinnis 1986), it is possible that his description is valid in principle, but the reconstruction of all its details remains impossible. This is also underpinned by the many differences in the 95

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Figure 99: The remains of the foundation ditch of the ziggurat at Babylon, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.

various models proposed by several scholars over time: R. Koldewey (1913), Th. Dombart (1930), E. Unger (1931), A. Moberg (1931), W. Andrae (1932), G. Martiny (1938), A. Parrot (1949), H. Schmid (1995), J. Vicari (Vicari, Bruschweiler 1985), just to mention the main ones. The ziggurat of Ur is a better case-study for investigating the adopted building techniques, thanks to its state of conservation at the time of its excavations, carried out by L. Woolley in the 1920s and early 1930s (Figure 100). It was built by the kings Ur-Nammu and Shulgi, between the 22nd and 21st century BC, and was significantly restored by Nabonidus in the 6th century BC. The ziggurat stood on an elevated platform inside one of the two large courtyards, surrounded by long and narrow rooms, that flanked a large sanctuary. It had at least three terraces, built in mud bricks and protected and reinforced by a coating in fired bricks (with a thickness of 2.50 m in the first terrace and 1.15 m in the second). The first terrace, with a perimeter of c. 63 m x 43 m was the only one well preserved at the time of the excavations, while the second and third terraces were preserved only to a limited extent. In the reconstruction proposed by L. Woolley (1939), access was via a central staircase which, by means of distinct ramps, drove directly to the high temple, while two side ramps reached only the first terrace. The good preservation

Figure 100: The Ur ziggurat in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936 (a). On the left (b): detail of the holes on the south-western face of the ziggurat.

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of the bottom section of the structure (extensively restored in the 1980s; see Figure 8) allowed archaeologists to observe some technical details related to the construction: in particular, the external walls, slightly inclined, are supported by buttresses and are equipped with the abovementioned ‘wheeper holes’, probably designed to drain water (page 63). It is important to recall that by the term ziggurat we usually think of a single monumental unit, but in reality the ziggurat is composed of several building units that form a complex structure. The actual temple represents only a part of such a complex, i.e. the construction erected on the uppermost terrace. Temples. The many excavated remains of temples can be ordered according to some main models and typologies proposed by several authors. In most cases these are based on the analysis of the proportions and the ‘axiality’ of the cella, i.e. the perpendicular direction between the entrance and another main feature in the cella, such as a podium or altar (Roaf 1995: 426-427). Some main types can therefore be recognised (Figure 101): a.

The T-shaped temple, already discussed above, typical of the Sumerian culture.

b.

The so-called ‘bent-axis’ temple, where the main entrance was on one of the long walls, and a platform (a podium for the cult statues?) was normally at the opposite end. It was typical of the Early Dynastic period.

c.

The in antis, or megaron-type temple, i.e. an elongated building with the walls of the long sides protruding on one or two of the short sides to form a portico; pillars could delimit the porch or even the interior, although they are not in themselves determining elements. In particular, B. Hrouda (1970) and G.R.H. Wright (1985: 140) emphasised that, from a strictly typological point of view, it is to disprove the cliché according to which the megaron pertains exclusively to the Aegean, Anatolian and Balkan areas, since it was also found in the Levant and Mesopotamia (in the latter region, especially in the north and at least up to the Early Dynastic period, such as at Tell Khuera ─ Orthmann 2002).

d.

The ‘broad-room’ temple, with entrance and platform in axis at the centre of the long sides, developed in the 2nd millennium BC, probably in Babylon, and then spread also to other regions.

e.

The ‘long-room’ temple, typical of Assyrian architecture between the end of 3rd and 2nd millennia BC.

Palaces Even for the palaces, as well as for the temples, it is difficult to identify their function in buildings prior to the Early Dynastic period. Only from this era on does the epigraphic data corroborate the archaeological, mentioning, in particular, any kings to whom buildings can be related. It is also necessary to keep in mind that the term ‘palace’ must be interpreted with different meanings depending on the period and the region, and it may indicate both buildings intended only for political activities and administration, as well as residential buildings. In addition, 97

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Figure 101: Main types of Mesopotamian temple plans. T-shaped temple, Uruk, 4th millennium BC (a); bent-axis temple, Sin Temple level VII at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC (b); in antis/megaron-type temple, Tell Khuera, 3rd millennium BC (c); broad-room temple, Ninmah Temple at Ur, 1st millennium BC (d); longroom temple, Sin- Shamash Temple at Ashur, 2nd millennium BC (e).

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there may be differences in the degree of connection with other buildings in the surrounding urban areas. The first buildings in Mesopo-tamian history traditionally identified as palaces were found at Kish and Eridu. In both cases, these buildings differ from the surrounding ones mainly in their monumentality and size (it is not by chance that this type is indicated by the sumerogram é-gal – ‘big house’). According to the information available from the excavation reports, we can assume that both palaces were built with materials and techniques similar to those used for the rest of the constructions. Unfortunately, Figure 102: The Palace A at Kish, 3rd millennium BC. in both cases the published data are insufficiently detailed to allow deep analysis. Palace A at Kish can be dated to the Early Dynastic period (Figure 102). It consisted in fact of two distinct architectural complexes which apparently were not communicating. The northern complex had a monumental entrance, with several rooms arranged around a central courtyard. Stairs and pillars suggest the existence of an upper floor. At an unspecified historical moment, a second building complex was built immediately to the south (Mackay 1929: 75-76). Unfortunately, in the case of the Eridu palace, the published data prevent us from carrying out a detailed evaluation of its construction history. However, it may be assumed that this building was also composed of two main and distinct blocks, and, despite the impression of some confusion in the organisation of the rooms, it was certainly the result of well-planned project work (Safar, Mustafa, Lloyd 1981). Both structures belong to an historical phase where the domination exercised by sovereigns was essentially limited to the territory immediately surrounding the cities, in a ‘city state’ system that differed from that of a true territorial state. In Mesopotamia this form of government, as is well known, was first realised at the time of the Akkadian kingdom (24th-23rd century BC). If we consider the impact that such a change had on political history, and the role that the palace assumed in the management of the territory, it would be legitimate to expect a corresponding change in the architecture of this architectural type during this period; it would also be expected to note a certain consistency in the architectural characteristics of these constructions (as we find for other features, e.g. glyptic, which actually reflect this unifying process related to the expansion of the Akkadian kingdom). However, such development in the 99

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palace model is not currently recognisable – in part, too, because the Akkadian capital has not yet been found and the archaeological remains of this period are still very scarce across Mesopotamian territory as a whole. The construction par excellence associated with the idea of palace in Bronze Age Mesopotamia is Mari (Figure 103). Here a great palace, excavated since the 1920s, has revealed walls over 5 m high, over an area of c. 2.5 ha, with more than 300 rooms (see Margueron 1982: 209-380, for a detailed analysis of the building complex). It is interesting to note that, despite a clear distinction between different functional areas ‒ i.e. areas of representation, residence, Figure 103: Zimri-Lim’s Palace at Mari, early 2nd millennium BC. warehouses, archives, etc. ‒ and even the different relative chronology of the various units of the buildings, the construction techniques do not differ significantly, and they appear to be consistent with those typical of domestic architecture, apart from the differences in monumentality and accuracy of the masonries and decorations. A fundamental contribution to our knowledge of the development of Mesopotamian building techniques is given by the Assyrian palaces of the Iron Age between the 9th and 7th centuries BC. The panorama offered by the Assyrian context is of particular interest for two main reasons: first, the Assyrian architectural repertoire known thanks to the many archaeological excavations, including those of the 19th and early 20th centuries, is particularly rich and well documented: a good example of an early, but well detailed, excavation report, in terms of the description of building materials and techniques, is that of the excavations conducted by the Oriental Institute of Chicago at Dur-Sharrukin, whose results were published in Loud 1936 and Loud, Altman 1938 (Figure 104). Furthermore, the Neo-Assyrian palace was the seat of political power and therefore expresses precise and definite characteristics, repeated at many other palaces erected in different regions of the empire, and, in part, developed according to models matured thanks to contacts with architectural traditions of conquered countries, especially western ones. The use of materials such as stone and wood, as well as some particular technical and stylistic solutions of western influence were absorbed and reproduced by the Assyrians, faithfully or through reworking, and thus led to a rapid and profound transformation of 100

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Mesopotamian architecture, which is also reflected in the strong standardisation of some fundamental elements. Some recurring characteristics can be recognised in Assyrian palaces: a) monumentality and use of sculpture, both lamassu and orthostates. This trend began in the 9th century BC and was influenced by contacts with the western Syrian world, which at that very moment was entering the Assyrian orbit; b) division of the space into two main distinct areas, traditionally called babanu and bitanu, organised around open courts and corresponding to the representative area and private residence of the king (see Margueron 2005a for a summary on this Figure 104: Sargon II’s Palace at Dur topic). Recently a study by D. Sharrukin, 8th century BC, according to Kertai has suggested a more the reconstruction made by V. Place. appropriate definition of these spaces – with the terms ‘throne-room courtyard’ and ‘central courtyard’ respectively; actually, the character of ‘public space’ as distinct from ‘private space’ is not so neat and clear ‒ Kertai 2015); c) Throne room of the long-room type, with the throne on one side and the entrance not in axis but Figure 105: The throne room of Sargon on a long wall, parallel to one II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin, 8th side of the court over which century BC. they look (Turner 1970: 183188). Although of different dimensions, proportions and arrangements, this is the plan that distinguishes all Assyrian throne rooms, testifying to the king’s desire to give a sense of immutability to the power exercised (Figure 105). The throne room was usually placed in such a way as to act as a link between the so-called babanu and bitanu; d) the introduction of the bit-hilani, consisting in 101

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an access system to the building, or in any case to a well characterised part of it, through a sort of loggia equipped with columns (moulded or not). In the interior the access was immediately divided into two parts: on one side a staircase led to the upper floor, while in front there was an access to the rest of the structure. A well-known example of this type of structure is that of the palace at Guzana (Figure 106), whose columns are remarkable for their modelling (Figure 76). This model was probably acquired by the Assyrians following contact with populations in Syrian regions, from which it originates (see, in particular, Frankfort 1952; Figure 106: The bit-hilani at the entrance to the Palace at Kapara, 9th century BC. Winter 1993: 27. Kertai 2017 places emphasis on the Assyrian ability to assimilate the western model, contextualising it in its own buildings in a new way). The maximum expression of the monumentality of Mesopotamian palaces is finally expressed in the Southern Palace of Babylon (Figure 107). R. Koldewey brought to light three palaces at Babylon: the Southern Palace and the Northern Palace immediately west of the Ishtar Gate, and the Summer Palace, more to the north, behind the city walls (Koldewey 1913: 65-99). The Southern Palace, whose construction already begun under the reign of Nabopolassar (626605 BC), was enlarged by Nabuchdnezar II (604-562 BC) with four large courtyards facing the

Figure 107: The remains of Nabuchdnezar’s Palace at Babylon, late 7th-early 6th century BC, in a photograph taken by J.A. Spranger in 1936.

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east–west axis. The adopted plan was trapezoidal and the number of rooms c. 600. The throne room, with the throne located in a niche at one end, was distinctly different from that of Assyrian models. Although the picture we have relies on the impression we have of this unique example (the other two complexes have only been partially investigated, and the other known Neo-Babylonian palaces are not really comparable in other locations), the overall impression, therefore, is that of a considerable change in respect of the Assyrian period. In particular, the loss of rigour and planning is noticeable, as well as the notion of aggregations of individual building units, always centred around large courtyards, built at different times and adapting to the needs. This gives a general sense of monumentality and grandeur at the same time, but actually it can be read also as a step back, in terms of design, compared to previous Assyrian palaces (Frankfort 1954: 373-374). Fortifications Under the label ‘fortifications’ it is possible to group structures which, in reality, can differ greatly from each other, primarily because of precise function of the construction itself. In a general sense, all architectural structures that protect settlements against hostile attacks can be described as fortifications. Of course, defences against wild animals do not require particularly complex systems, while, on the contrary, structures that have to defend against human attack must be more sophisticated. One of the simplest components of a fortification system is the ‘rampart’, a long earthen mound that runs along the settlement’s perimeter. If the rampart’s sloped outer surface is regularly shaped and coated with mud, plaster or stone it is called a ‘glacis’. A more sophisticated system involves defending the settlement with a ‘city wall’ or ‘enceinte’ – a solid freestanding wall that can be reinforced by means of turrets, towers or external buttresses, and whose openings are the ‘city gates’. The latter can be simple – a passageway through the wall – or more complex constructions, articulated in different chambers and passages (see the summary in Novack 2015, focused on the middle-Euphrates regions). Enceintes that enclosed settlement, or parts of settlements, already existed in the Neolithic. In later periods this fortification system was one of the elements, amongst others, that served to identify a city (page 12). Especially in the very early periods, however, the first constructions of this kind found in excavations are really the simplest, designed to defend the settlement from weathering or wild animals. Often they were very modest structures, of which only a few traces remain, except in the case of constructions designed to protect against significant water infiltration or flooding. To serve this purpose, powerful stone walls are known since the Neolithic: e.g. the imposing wall excavated at Halula in Syria probably had this function (Molist 1998: fig. 9). A particular case is also that of the fortifications of Tell Maghzalya in Iraq, where the archaeological remains, however, were poorly preserved and did not allow exhaustive reconstruction of the technical aspects involved; however they testify to the existence of real fortifications since the Neolithic (Munchaev, Merpert, Bader 1984). Large and monumental fortifications became a standard feature of cities, at least from the late 4th millennium BC (the city of Uruk, for example, was celebrated for its impenetrable city walls in the Gilgamesh epic). However, it seems that they existed long before, at least for some of the more extensive settlements, as evidenced by the excavations at Tell es-Sawan (Figure 103

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Figure 108: Tell es-Sawan during the Samarra period, late 7th millennium BC.

108). In the so-called ‘Samarra’ period, dating to the 6th millennium BC, the settlement was surrounded by a monumental wall, regular, and of considerable thickness, made of sun-dried bricks. According to the archaeologists who excavated the site, there should also have been an external moat (however the published reports are not detailed enough to allow an accurate analysis of this ‒ Wailly, Soof 1965). A noteworthy case-study of 3rd-millennium BC constructions that can be associated with fortifications is the so-called ‘round building’ found at some sites in the Hamrin region (Figure 113). These were all very similar structures, at least in some respects, first of all in terms of circular perimeter. However they also had substantial differences and it is not even clear whether they were primarily of a defensive nature – they also served as warehouses and control centres in the border region between Mesopotamia and the Iranian plateau. At present the information on them is still too fragmented to allow an accurate overall assessment of their function (see Roaf 1995: 201-204, for a general summary; Forest 1996: 201-204 for a possibly different function; Renette 2010 and Heil 2011 for a more recent overview). In fact the archaeological evidence for fortifications is slight until the 2nd millennium BC, in part, of course, because settlements have suffered dismantling and renewal of their fortifications over time. Furthermore, in the 2nd millennium BC there was a great development in the evolution of the ‘polyorcetic’ techniques, and, in particular, the battering ram represented a major threat. All this brought about a change in the techniques of building fortifications, and from this time on fortifications were built on large embankments, or glacis, able to resist the assault of attackers. In addition, they made the exposed flank of the enemy greater, and more vulnerable to the defenders’ projectiles. Fortifications were thus enhanced with towers and gates, as well as moats. An excellent example of excavated fortifications, from 104

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this point of view, can be seen at a site outside of Mesopotamia, at Ebla in Syria. Here the ancient ramparts are still perfectly recognisable on the ground and excavations have revealed some of the city gates, one of which being extremely sophisticated and monumental – the South-Eastern Gate (Matthiae 1977: fig. 28). Examples of moats are rarer; E.J. Banks claimed he discovered one during his 1904 excavations of Bismaya (Wilson 2012: 33, fig. 4.2). So far we have no archaeological evidence of long walls protecting entire regions, such as those built, according to cuneiform sources, by King Shu-Sin at the end of the 3rd millennium BC in defence against the Martu/Amurru, and called Muriq-Tidnim, i.e. ‘that which keeps away the Tidnim’, an Amurru tribe (Oates, J. 1986: 49; Sallaberger 2007a: 444-445). From the 1st millennium BC much more information is available, thanks also to iconographic sources and, in particular, the extraordinary repertoire featured on Neo-Assyrian reliefs. On these monuments it is possible to recognise several enemy cities, besieged and destroyed, always shown in extraordinary detail. Based on the depictions on the reliefs, fortification types were greatly varied, depending on the region, in particular in terms of amounts and types of towers, enceintes (single or double), and merlons. The city walls, if double, usually had a higher inner bastion to make a double line of defence. In addition to iconographic documentation, we also have important material remains preserved in many of the main Assyrian capitals that reveal precise data on the construction system adopted for different sites. In general, the standard model for a double wall consisted of an outside stretch built of fired bricks (fully or partly), and an interior line, more massive and thicker, usually made of sun-dried bricks. The walls were punctuated with large towers or bastions, and gates which, in addition to their defensive function, served as places for socialising and markets in periods of peace (perhaps forerunners of the ‘piazza’, which, in Europe, was a characteristic townscape feature since antiquity, and for which we have no clear evidence in ancient Mesopotamian cities. On markets in general, see Zaccagnini 1989: 421). Beyond the Assyrian world, other important finds, of course, are known from Babylon, where the city walls – still the most imposing in Mesopotamia – were excavated. Thanks to the researches conducted by R. Koldewey in the area near the Gate of Ishtar, these walls represent some of the best documented remains for the study of building techniques. The city was enclosed by an impressive fortification system, whose remains were visible on the surface and traced by the archaeologists before the start of the excavations (Figure 109). They were built during the Neo-Babylonian period, under the reigns of Nabopolassar and Nabuchdnezar, i.e. between the mid 7th and mid 6th centuries BC. Almost no traces of the earlier walls built during the Old Babylonian period survived, and even the Neo-Babylonian remains are actually preserved only to a limited extent, the parts in fired bricks having been largely dismantled and spoiled in antiquity. There were two different sets of walls: the outer enceinte enclosed the inner city and the main palaces and was built only on the east bank of the Euphrates, with a length of c. 8 km and featuring a main wall of sun-dried bricks, c. 7 m thick. Two other walls of fired bricks were placed beyond the first, and a large moat dug beyond the walls. The space between the three walls was extensive (up to a maximum of c. 17 m between the innermost and the middle wall) and filled with earth and rubble, so as to support a possible roadway (Herodotus reported that it allowed a four-horse chariot to turn around ─ Histories, I, 178). The innermost wall is the best preserved, and it was reinforced by projecting towers set at regular intervals. It is unclear if similar towers existed also in the outer walls, but it is highly probable. 105

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The inner fortification enclosed the inner city and the main palaces, and consisted of two walls of sun-dried bricks, called Imgur-Enlil (the innermost, c. 6.5 m thick) and Nimitti-Enlil (c. 4 m thick), separated by a space of c. 4 m. A further external earthwork in fired bricks acted as the scarp of a moat, connected to the Euphrates. Some other defensive structures were built along this river, as well as stairways for accessing some river quays (Koldewey 1913: 1-6; for a brief outline see also Oates, J. 1986: 145-149). One last note concerns an ancient text published by B. Parker in 1997 that reports works carried out to build an entire Assyrian fort in a region north of Assyria: from the text it Figure 109: The enceintes of Babylonia, 6th century BC: a) is clear that, besides the external Euphrates; b) outer enceinte; c) inner enceinte. fortification, the complex consisted of a central court and at least two main quarters of dwellings (bet ubri, i.e. the ‘house of the guests’, and bet naptarte, the ‘house of the garrison’). There are references to a channel that was most likely close to a stream. The text also provided information on the work needed to build the fort, and the number of workers employed, but unfortunately it is incomplete at that point. Houses, storage- and workplaces The ‘house’, in Mesopotamian archaeology, must be considered not only as a dwelling, but, more generally, as the hub of daily life of the community, which, at least since the Pottery Neolithic, can reasonably be defined as ‘family’. To the extent possible, it is therefore essential to recognise those architectural elements capable of giving a full picture of the social structure of the community that inhabited the structure. Unfortunately, a strong limitation to our understanding is the fact that, despite the enormous chronological span and geographical extent of the region concerned, specific researches dedicated to the house are as yet limited, and, above all, the information is not consistent for all regions and periods (for example, the fundamental study by O. Aurenche (1981b) was limited to the Neolithic). The evolution of the house model, even limiting the analysis to the most macroscopic data and to the essential innovations, offers particular reasons of interest regarding the relationship

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between the design of the building plan, the functional organisation of the spaces, and the adopted materials and techniques. One of the nodal points of architectural development, within the Neolithic, was the passage from the round to the orthogonal plan, which occurred in an advanced phase of the PrePottery Neolithic. Already the circular structure, the so-called Neolithic round house, represents a revolution, from the point of view of both materials and techniques, compared to the huts and shelters of the previous periods (Wright 2000: 19-21). Its standard is a closed space with a diameter of between 3 and 7 m, built with a basement slightly below the external ground floor; this feature was generally well characterised, either because the surface was in beaten earth or covered by a lime plaster, or because some gradients marked the access. The walls were made either of mud or stone. As for the covering, the prevailing type was probably that of flat roofs, covered in mud (but the environment and rainfall probably played a role in this respect: see, for example, the conical roofs of houses represented on an Assyrian relief from Nineveh in Hrouda 1965: pl. 10.5). At the end of the 1970s, an important find was made in Mureybet, a Syrian site along the Euphrates, where a 9th-millennium BC structure that had collapsed in antiquity after a fire allowed us to reconstruct the original covering system: beams arranged in a radial pattern to form a base and covered by a mud layer (see Wright 2000: fig. 7 for a reconstruction according to two different covering hypotheses, conical and flat). Inside, some small partition walls separated distinct functional spaces. The passage to the orthogonal plan does not seem to have been radical but gradual, through the erection of buildings that actually had only a part of the plan drawn with an orthogonal profile. In fact, they still had a circular profile on a general basis, as seen, for example, in some structures at another Neolithic site, Jerf al-Ahmar in Syria, whose walls were in pisé on a plinth made of two rows of large limestone stones (Figure 110). From the point of view of building technology, the construction of orthogonal buildings is more demanding than that of the round one. This is especially true for Neolithic masons, as compressive forms, like the arch, were not yet known and the coverings of any opening had to be based only on the system of the trilithon (page 59); in addition, the presence of corners in the orthogonal plan led to a more difficult distribution of loads and therefore required greater attention and care, both in the choice of materials and in the laying of the masonry units,

Figure 110: Building with different plans at Jerf el-Ahmar, 10th9th millennium BC.

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to make the walls consistent and solid enough. However, the round plan, although its design and realisation are easier, had severe disadvantages compared to the orthogonal plan. Essentially, these presented few possibilities to subdivide the internal space or to enlarge the structure, something that, on the contrary, could theoretically be increased infinitely in an orthogonal plan. In addition, the round plan made Figure 111: The transition from the round (a) to the orthogonal it more difficult to protect the (b) plan at Nemrik, 10th-9th millennium BC. interior space from cold and wind, since the lack of corners made for few sheltered spots in respect of the opening. Dwelling constructions based on orthogonal plans were usually in mud-brick, with rectangular rooms, not necessarily erected all at the same time. The Neolithic site of Nemrik, in Iraq, is an excellent case-study for the evolution of Neolithic building techniques, because it shows the passage from simple, modest circular huts to more complex structures with stone footings and orthogonal plans (Figure 111). The archaeological remains suggest, at least in some cases, specialised functions for the different rooms – some for dwelling and others dedicated to activities related to the storage or preparation of food (this may be assumed thanks to the presence of ovens, millstones and other characterising materials): they were therefore ‘all-purpose’ houses that met all the needs of daily life for the group living there. Although it is true that the orthogonal plan soon became the standard solution for the majority of Mesopotamian architecture, it must be remembered that the round form survived, and, in certain contexts, it enjoyed particular success, e.g. during the Halaf period, when one of the distinctive cultural characteristics, together with the ceramics, was the construction of buildings of the so-called tholos type, with a round plan. Entrance could be via a short corridor, and in that case the structure assumed the form of a keyhole-shaped house. The reasons for this revival of the round plan are not clear, especially since they coexisted together with orthogonal structures. Moreover, this model foresaw many variations: for example, at Tell Arpachya a round structure presented a sort of dromos at the entrance (Figure 112), while in other cases, such as at Tawila, Figure 112: A tholos at Tell Arpachya, 6th millennium BC. some small partition walls were 108

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erected within the circular room (Becker 2005: fig. 6). A further case of revival of the round plan is that of the already mentioned ‘round houses’ of the Hamrin region, such as that of Tell Razuq reproduced in Figure 113. However, they were more likely fortresses and/or warehouses, and are therefore not included in the category of houses (see page 104). This latter example, however, can also be considered as just an episode within a general trend that favoured the orthogonal plan. Returning to the subject of dwelling houses, it should be noted that, throughout the period between the 4th and the early 3rd millennium BC, Figure 113: The round building at Tell Razuk, 3rd i.e. between the end of Halaf millennium BC. and the Early Dynastic period, the available data from the whole Mesopotamian context are very fragmented. The situation changes slightly from the mid 3rd millennium BC, when excavation evidence increases. The function of the house as the residence of the ‘family’ became a standard, and, especially within urban centres, houses were organised within areas configured as real neighbourhoods. A recurring architectural feature was the central courtyard, around which different rooms were arranged; in the 2nd millennium BC this was the standard model, especially in central and southern Mesopotamia. Furthermore, the construction of an upper floor became frequent, as is suggested by remains of collapsed structures, architectural miniature models, and representations in figurative art. Finally, a significant regional differentiation is well recognisable. The standard 2nd-millennium BC house is well exemplified in the building referred to as ‘N. 3, Gay Street’ at Ur (Figure 114): it is an example of the so-called ‘courtyard building’, characterised by a central square court, with side rooms and an upper floor. Leonard Woolley (1976: 96-97) interpreted the central courtyard as an open space, not roofed, and able therefore to guarantee lighting (Figure 94). Some scholars criticised this interpretation, as the opening would also allow in rainwater, as well as light, causing deterioration and degradation of the mud-brick structures, difficult to sustain. Also, the thickness of the preserved walls was not considered wide enough to support a second floor. However, the existence of both the covering and the upper floor are still matters of debate (see Miglus 1999: 75 and Zettler, Hafford 2015: 380 for a general discussion of these issues, with bibliography). In the case of warehouses, there is actually a significant difference in the published and available documentation, which is greater for Pre- and Protohistory than for the most recent periods 109

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to some extent. A publication by V. Van der Stede (2010) provides a first systematic overview of these structures, at least for the period up to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. In this case, the identification of the function is often possible thanks to structural characteristics. Granaries can be grouped into three main types with ground and raised floors (see the example from Choga Mami in Figure 115; the actual granary rested on a platform built over a supportingstructure with a grid plan). In fact, silos are very rare and their identification very difficult, if not based on the contents stored. In the case of ground floor granaries it is impossible to distinguish these structures from simple dwellings, except from the remains of any stored materials, and, in many cases, from their location inside the settlement. Evidently, moisture protection was achieved by protecting cereals with fabrics and/or other vegetable material: straw itself is an excellent insulator from moisture. In the case of raised granaries, well diffused from the late PrePottery Neolithic, the footings of the walls are good indicators for their identification: these consist of parallel walls that supported the main structure, protecting the materials stored from moisture and ensuring effective ventilation. A special case is that of the structures excavated in the 3rd-millennium BC levels at Shuruppak. These consisted of large cylindrical or ellipsoidal pits, made in fired plano-convex

Figure 114: Plan and reconstruction of a private house at Ur, early 2nd millennium BC.

Figure 115: A granary at Choga Mami, early 6th millennium BC.

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bricks, with openings between 2 and 4 m and deep up to 7 m; in fact they are not clearly interpretable, but they do not seem to be connected to water ducts and it is possible therefore that they were simple silos (Heinrich 1931: 8 and Martin, V. 1988: 42-47) In the period between the 2nd and 1st millennia BC, granaries and warehouses of course continued to be built, and examples have been found in many excavations. However, more systematic and up-to-date research into the most recent findings is still required to provide a comprehensive overview and an effective typology of these structures. We know little, in reality, of all those structures intended to serve different purposes: with the end of the Neolithic, the model of the ‘all-purpose building’ was abandoned, and houses, shops, warehouses, etc. tended to be different structures one from the other. Workplaces, however, remain hard to recognise. Most craftsmen actually worked in dedicated spaces, but it appears that these had no specific architectural characteristics as a rule (Moorey 1994: 16). There are some exceptions, i.e. those workplaces equipped with kilns and furnaces. As for spaces dedicated to pyrotechnic activities, these were generally concentrated in well-defined areas of the settlements, with a good example coming from the Early Dynastic levels of Abu Salabikh, where a concentration of fire installations suggests the existence of a ‘specialised quartier’ of bakers or potters (Crawford 1983: 34). By ovens and kilns, we mean fixed installations in beaten earth, brick, or even stone. In effect, the classification of these structures can be based according to several parameters: a) the basic operations that the oven/kiln has to perform, i.e. fundamentally heating, baking or melting; b) the mode of direct or indirect conduction of heat, i.e. those heated by direct flame and those where combustion takes place in a separate chamber; c) the shape of the construction. It should be noted that the archaeological repertoire of ancient Mesopotamia is not particularly rich in examples, except for the simplest cases of ovens for cooking food, and mostly located within the dwelling houses. The earliest Neolithic and Chalcolithic evidence generally consists of ovens directly excavated as pits in the ground (examples at Halula ‒ Molist 1998: figs. 4-6), or in erected structures that sorts of simple stoves, external or internal to the houses and often attached to a wall (examples at Umm Dabaghya ─ Kirkbride 1975: pls. 4b and 6a). In more recent times, the structures were sometimes very large, probably because they were intended to feed more people. The clay ovens of today, the tannur, are direct descendants of this type of oven: it usually had a bell shape, with curved walls made of earth, and the bottom possibly covered with stone. In some cases the excavations have brought to light particularly well-preserved structures, i.e. the- rectangular or ovalplan kilns from the 3rd-millennium BC levels at Tutub (Figure 116), featuring vents on which items were placed to cook. In the illustration, examples 3 and 4a-b are actually archaeologists’ representations, suggesting a possible use for these structures for firing ceramics or bricks, and assuming that they were covered by a dome. However, this is not documented in the excavation itself (Delougaz 1940: 133). Another particularly important finding is that of the kilns from the area of the Gimilsin temple at Eshnunna, built in a depression in the ground at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The major one had a roughly oval shape, a platform with a vaulted tunnel below, built with ‘extreme ingenuity’ (according to Frankfort, Lloyd, Jacobsen 1940: 50) and equipped with four separate arches, with inner vents and a probable upper chimney, already collapsed at the time of excavation. The platform had eight supports and a slightly raised central area. We do not know exactly what this kiln was used for, although traces of copper suggest a use for melting metals (see Frankfort, Lloyd, Jacobsen 1940: 650, while Wright 2000: fig. 163 considers it more likely a kiln for firing terracotta objects). It is, 111

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Figure 116: Reconstruction of kilns found within the ‘Temple Oval’ at Tutub, 3rd millennium BC.

however, a type also attested at other sites, even if with slight variations (e.g. Neribtum ‒ Hill, Jacobsen, Delougaz 1990: pl. 10). More generally, however, it should be remembered that workplaces are also hard to identify as they are not necessarily structured according to models we consider standard today. Apart from special processing areas, such as those equipped with the large kilns just mentioned, our categories of ‘workshop’, ‘store’, etc. cannot be considered as having exact matches in the Mesopotamian world; as noted by P.R.S. Moorey (1994: 16) ‘… terms like “workshop” and “factory” reflecting the impact of the industrial revolution in Western society, can be seriously 112

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misleading with respect to the ancient Near East, where it was the workers with their tools which mattered more than any location and its fitting.’ Roads, streets, bridges Roads can essentially be distinguished between those designed for traffic within settled sites and infrastructures intended to connect different settlements. As mentioned above (page 22), until wheeled transport sufficiently developed, using the spoke wheel, road building had actually a very low impact on the development of construction techniques. Transports were preferably by river or sea, along the coast, and, if by land, were made on foot, while wheeled vehicles served mainly for exceptional or limited transports, and ceremonial or celebratory uses. In this context, roads were still simple paths, not particularly meaningful from the point of view of building techniques. They were generally realised in beaten earth, rarely recognisable on the ground by archaeological survey (in this regard see Wilkinson 2003: 60 and tab. 4.3 on the different road types recognisable on the ground, with case-studies and a reference bibliography). The drive to build real roads, in the Near East, came from the mechanisation of armies, and in particular to the introduction of horse-drawn vehicles and light cavalry. The latter certainly existed, at least in the Neo-Assyrian period, as is amply testified by the sculpture reliefs. It seems that horse harness as it is today was not known at that time. However, the iconographic sources demonstrate that, from the early 1st millennium BC, some elements were introduced, such as a caparison to function as a saddle, and a series of tie rods connected to the bit to ensure a better connection to the bridle. All this made riding easier, especially for messengers and scouts during military expeditions. With the Assyrian Empire, a rapid and profound transformation of the extra-urban road system took place: the need to develop an effective system of control and communication within a territory that had quickly became extremely large, and that therefore was not manageable with the tools in use until then, led the Assyrians to develop what, in fact, was the very first example of a highway infrastructure, the so-called ‘Royal Road’ (khul šarri). This linked the borders of the Empire, through an organised roadsystem, with post and guard stations at regular intervals, and teams of specialised technicians (ummani) responsible for road maintenance and control (Forbes 1965: 136). However, from the point of view of building techniques, for a long period these roads were also simply trails in beaten earth (it is worth remembering that in Europe, roads of beaten earth were normal until the 18th century, before gradually being replaced by cobblestones and macadam). Even within settlements, streets were regularly in beaten earth, except in the case of particularly important thoroughfares, i.e. the so-called ‘processional ways’, which instead were carefully paved, as known from Babylon (Figure 117), where the decking was made of limestone flagstones and rubble. Processional ways were usually built by fitting courses of bricks in the foundations and fixing them with bitumen, which often joined possible stone slabs as well. In this case, the interstices between the stones were usually narrower on the surface and wider in depth, to allow a good adhesion of the bitumen without the risk of it escaping to the surface. In some cases, such as at Ashur, slabs could be alternated, thus forming a sort of double track, in which probably wood or metal rails could be inserted (Andrae 1938: fig. 10). Bridges certainly existed, but we actually know almost nothing about them. Herodotus wrote about a stone bridge in Babylon that linked the two parts of the city cut by the river, and which 113

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Figure 117: Section of the Processional Way at Babylon, 6th century BC.

Figure 118: A bridge represented on the Balawat Gates. Imgur Enlil, 9th century BC. Bronze. The British Museum, n. 124681.

was built with ‘stones tied together with iron and lead bars’ (Histories I, 186), but no trace of this structure was ever found. However, the remains of a bridge made of fired bricks, with abutments shaped like boats, were excavated by R. Koldewey (Wetzel 1930: 55-57, pl. 78). At Girsu, a particular construction, labelled as ‘enigmatic’ by the archaeologists, was excavated and interpreted as a possible bridge over a canal. Unfortunately, this interpretation is based only on the excavation file, and there are no material remains allowing us to match the spot (Margueron 2005; Bagg 2011a: 43). The bronze decoration on the Balawat Gates (page XYZ) is also worth mentioning in this context, with its representation of light structures, perhaps boats, supporting a sort of bridge, fixed to piers on the opposite banks (Figure 118). Unfortunately, we do not yet have enough data from the available archaeological documentation to assess whether more complex structures existed for these types of constructions. Infrastructures for the water management Water management was fundamental for the exploitation of increasingly larger territories. At least since the Chalcolithic, it was realised by means of the construction of canalisation works that can be defined as the first real infrastructures. The waters of a river could only rarely be exploited in areas immediately close to the river itself, as these were often subject to flooding, or at least to significant changes in the course of the river; and therefore not ideal due to the morphological characteristics of the soil. It was thus necessary to develop projects and techniques capable of bringing river water closer to habitable and cultivable areas. From a technical point of view, some elements are essential for an effective canal. It must first be designed taking into account its optimum ‘design gradient’; see Wilkinson 2003: 47 for a 114

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clear description: ‘... their beds [i.e. of the canals] should be neither too steep (which would result in erosion) nor too gentle (which would encourage the accumulate of excess sediment). If the terrain is too steep for a canal to be constructed directly down gradient, the channel can be constructed to flow obliquely to the slope or almost parallel to the contours.’ (In the same work by Wilkinson see also fig. 4.1, with schematic sections of various types of wells and canals, and tab. 4.2 with a synthetic typology of the various water sources.) A further process, which preceded the actual canal excavation, and when close to major waterways, was to raise the level of neighbouring areas to avoid the risk of flooding. Canalisation proved relatively straightforward, at least in southern Mesopotamia, because the depth of the riverbeds was low. At the same time, it was a demanding task in terms of continuous maintenance. Each channelling work required continuous and systematic cleaning to remove the silt that normally settled at the canal mouth, due to the progressive reduction of water speed. Especially in the south of Samarra, one of the largest delta regions in the world, exploiting flat areas by means of canalisation systems connected to the Tigris, Euphrates, and the many smaller tributaries, was remarkable. However, it required the development of extremely sophisticated excavation and maintenance techniques, which could only be carried out by communities capable of coordinating large-scale works and, on occasion, highly specialised expertise. First traces of channelling occur already by the 6th millennium BC, as demonstrated by finds at Choga Mami in Iraq. At this site, at the time of excavation in the late 1960s, a canal connected to the nearby river Gangir irrigated the region (Oates, J. 1969: 122-127). In particular, the canal beds, which were most likely artificial and datable to the prehistoric levels – based on the stratigraphy and ceramic fragments found in the stratigraphic deposit – were recognised in areas where the soil was very eroded. Some cuneiform sources shed light on projects undertaken in very ancient periods: e.g. a cuneiform text referring to the excavation of a canal connecting Larsa to Ur, built by Rim-Sin in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. According to the study of the text by J.M. Renger, the length of the canal had to be about 50 km, with a depth of 2 m and a base width of c. 4.2 m (Renger 1990: 35). The main requirements for major infrastructure projects for water supply are: aqueducts; dams and sluices; and quays and river embankments, located in the main centres along the river course crossing the city. On this subject a fundamental work, published by A.M. Bagg in 2000, focuses on the structures realised in Assyria and constitutes a point of reference for studies, both for its systematic repertoire of the evidence known for the 1st millennium BC in northern Mesopotamia, and for the deep technical analysis conducted on the documentation available. The Assyrian scenario is, indeed, the best documented, compared to other regions. Recently, the work of an Italian mission in the region of Nineveh has increased our knowledge on the infrastructure in that zone. A massive canal network, with embankments, canals, quays, weirs and sluices has been recognised, whose survey and study is in progress (Morandi Bonacossi 2018). Aqueducts. The Assyrians devoted particular attention to the construction of water supply systems for their capitals, at least since the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (8th century BC). Ashurnasirpal II built what, according to currently available sources, was the first great 115

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Figure 119: The standing remains of the aqueduct at Jerwan, 7th century BC.

aqueduct destined to supply Kalhu by means of a tunnel along the Great Zab. The following kings also constructed and restored other large aqueducts. Sennacherib, king from 705 to 681 BC, was undoubtedly the most committed, aided by a personal interest and a competence in building techniques. Some inscriptions, in addition to celebrating the king’s greatness, suggest that he was committed to such architectural projects, and that he had an active role in the design and execution of large works. In particular, he built two large aqueducts connecting Nineveh to the Khosr and Bavian rivers. From the archaeological documentation, the most important remains are undoubtedly those that span a depression in an ancient wadi at Jerwan (Figure 119). This structure has suffered (also in modern times) modification and destruction, especially by the removal of material for new constructions, and thus it is apposite here to record Jacobsen and Lloyd at the end of their excavations (1935: 6): ‘… allowing about 2 meters for the parapet, the over-all height of the structure at the point where the arches occur is about 9 m. From this point, however, the sides of the wadi slope up gradually to the west and more even gradually to the east. As the width of the aqueduct without its buttresses is 22 m and the total length more than 280 m, it will be realised what a great mass of masonry is involved’. The Assyrian water supply system consisted not only of visible aqueducts, but also canals excavated underground: these conveyed water from mountain springs to the valleys, employing techniques probably learned by contact with Urartu, where similar canals were used. These systems were later developed, even after the end of the Persian empire, and evolved into the qanat system, still in use in Medieval Islamic times (Figure 120). The qanat consists of series of vertical wells connected by an underground channel having a slight slope; water is drawn from an aquifer and transported efficiently to the surface simply by gravity, without the need for pumps, since the end destination was at a lower altitude than that of the aquifer. In the case of regions with warm and dry climates, this system also had the advantage of ensuring the least 116

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dispersion of water, since this one flowed anyway under the surface and therefore did not evaporate (Forbes 1964: 156 and Ward English 1968). Dams and sluices. These systems certainly existed along the routes of the great aqueducts, but we still have little evidence of them in terms of archaeological finds. Figure 120: Ideal section of a qanat. A particular case is that of the remains of a dam excavated in Sippar, dating to the early 2nd millennium BC, when a river bank was built using a technique similar to that used for the city wall and intended to stem the overflow of the Euphrates during the frequent floods (Gasche, Tanret 2011: 545). However, it is only with the 1st millennium BC that we have really well documented examples. It is therefore particularly interesting to have a text in which the Assyrian king Sennacherib quotes a technical fault while building a valve of the Bavian aqueduct: the valve malfunctioned and the water escaped while the aqueduct was still under construction (Fales 1976b: 151). It is easy to interpret the structure as a sluice, even if we have no clear trace of it. In any case, it is likely that rather than using barrages, the outflow of water was organised mainly by means of water level control and excavations to make basins, swamp areas and ponds where water could be held, diverting and slowing down the excessive accumulation of winter water (the system is well evidenced, especially in the works for the construction of the Assyrian aqueduct that took water from the river Khosr). Quays and river embankments. There is no clear evidence of similar structures prior to the 1st millennium BC. One of the reasons is probably that these works were refurbished and rebuilt continuously, thus destroying much of the remains of previous times. Here too, the best archaeological evidence comes from the great Assyrian capitals (similar works at Babylon are not sufficiently documented, and also because of the course of the Euphrates within the city, which has significantly changed since the Neo-Babylonian period). In particular at Kalhu, Max Mallowan excavated the so-called ‘stone-quay wall’ that ran along the river, already from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (9th century BC). On the west slope of the mound the Assyrians took advantage of natural rocky inclines and built a sort of stone quay, topped by a brick structure. In some places, 11 large stone courses (1.5 × 0.7 m on average) were preserved, but originally they had to be at least 13; the stones were well dressed and protected by layers of bitumen at the top of the quay, while they were left roughly worked at foundation level, which was destined to be submerged (Mallowan 1966: 79-81, fig. 34. See also Andrae 1938: figs. 145 and 153 for similar structures excavated at Ashur). Recently, satellite imagery spotted a possible entire basin port in the 3rd-millennium BC remains at Abu Tbairah, in southern Iraq; however, the published data of the excavations on this site are still preliminary (D’Agostino 2018; Romano, D’Agostino 2019) and no analysis of building techniques is yet available.

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Gardens and orchards Although the greening of Mesopotamian settlements is almost entirely untraceable, we can say with certainty, however, that gardens and orchards enhanced land- and townscapes from the earliest of times, as shown by both the iconography and, above all, the written texts. Documentation is very scarce until the late 2nd millennium BC, apart from some particular cases, e.g. the ‘Palm Court’ of the Mari Palace (Khalesi 1978), or, in earlier periods, a garden built by Gudea at Girsu, which was a place of both pleasure and for honouring the gods, as quoted in cuneiform texts (Kühne 2006: 492). Our sources increase steadily with the 1st millennium BC. The simple terms we use – ‘garden’, ‘orchard’, ‘plant-nursery’, would seem to do little justice for what must have existed in ancient Babylon and Assyria. What becomes apparent is that the distinction between ornamental plants and those cultivated for food was not particularly felt in antiquity. The cuneiform texts, if anything, suggest that plant cultivation was more for variety and diversity (i.e. the apparent alternation of palms and conifers in the relief on a pyxis from Ashur, in Feldman 2006: fig. 4). Although the utilitarian nature of green areas is understood, the garden was at the same time very much a ‘place of pleasure’, as exemplified in the well-known relief of King Ashurbanipal today at the British Museum (BM WA 124920), where the king is represented in a manner unusual for Assyrian iconography – in a state of complete relaxation, in what seems to be a real ‘garden of delights’ (see a reproduction in Curtis, Reade 1995: 122). In reality, the monument connected with the most famous and important greening is, without doubt, that of Babylon’s ‘Hanging Gardens’. Although never identified with certainty, this world wonder has been the subject of numerous studies and attempts at reconstruction (see below in the Thematic Bibliography, page 151). The standard identification is that proposed by R. Koldewey, in a section of the Southern Palace (1913: fig. 46). Koldewey excavated a great vaulted structure that seemed built to support a terrace, to which water had to be channelled, via a system of conduits and pulleys. For this reason it was assumed that there had to have been gardens of some kind on that terrace, watered by means of this complex system. However, it now seems clear that those structures were in reality warehouses. In an interesting hypothesis, S. Dalley notes that no Babylonian text to date mentions such gardens, as opposed to those known at Nineveh in the Neo-Assyrian period. Dalley therefore suggests that the ‘Hanging Gardens’ should be searched for at this site instead (Dalley 1993: 7-8 in particular). The most interesting aspect of this hypothesis is that, indeed, we know that the Assyrian king Sennacherib actually built gardens, remarkable especially because of the system used to water them. The water was transported to a higher level by means of a device called with the same Assyrian name as that given to the timbers and columns: if we consider that the tortile profile was known from the 2nd millennium BC (above pages 22-23), it is possible to surmise that Sennacherib built a water supply system based on the use of a device with a tortile profile, which is in practice that of the helical screw. Unfortunately, the gardens of Nineveh are known only by a famous relief, today at the British Museum (Figure 121), and there is scant evidence of greening from the archaeological excavations. One example, however, is the Bit Akitu – the ‘House of the Festivals’ – at Ashur, built by Sennacheib to celebrate the New Year ceremony. Two main building phases can be recognised for this construction: the earliest seems to have covered an area of 55 m x 60 m, enlarged to 67 m x 60 m in the most recent phase. The building had a roughly square plan, according to a Babylonian model, with several side rooms around a central courtyard. In this courtyard were planted six rows of shrubs, as recorded by W. Andrae (Figure 122 – Andrae 1938: figs. 18-20), connected by a channelling system. However, even here 118

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Figure 121: Sennacherib’s ‘hanging garden’ represented in an Assyrian relief. Ashurbanipal’s Palace at Nineveh, 7th century BC. Gypsum alabaster, eight 208 cm. The British Museum, n. 124939.a.

Figure 122: The area of green planting excavated in the Bit Akitu at Ashur, 7th century BC.

there are insufficient traces to allow for any exact reconstruction of the green area; what we have are speculative reconstructions (a similar structure was excavated, more recently, at DurKatlimmu ‒ Kühne 2006: 229).

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Portable shelters Movable structures were probably common features of Mesopotamian town- and landscapes, but they leave few traces by their very nature. In any event, they would not reveal much in terms of the development of Mesopotamian building technology. Limited and indirect sources do provide us, however, with some information on them, and primarily there are just two structure categories on which it is possible to express some considerations and attempt reconstructions, these being tents, and the so-called baghdir (Figure 123). It must be stressed that the very definition of a tent is, to a certain extent, inadequate to identify structures that, in reality, can also be very different. As stressed by P.A. Andrews in a fundamental work on this subject (1997: 3): ‘… when is a tent not a tent? Opinions differ. Provided a structure has a covering which can be separated from its supports, and both can be transported, it is for the purposes of this book a tent.’ Indeed, once this broad definition is accepted, the review of existing models involves a very rich variety of types. A substantial difference, from the structural point of view, exists between tents equipped with supporting poles connected to the roof, and those that have the two parts completely independent. Unfortunately, as mentioned, documentation for this type of structure comes exclusively by the iconographic repertoire, which is only partially reliable. For example, tents reproduced in detail and characterised by a central pole supporting a sort of sloping cladding are depicted in the Assyrian reliefs. It is striking that, despite the already mentioned variety of possible technical solutions, the same type of Assyrian tent is also associated with different peoples, such as the Arabs defeated by the Neo-Assyrian expeditions of the 7th century BC (see, e.g., the Nineveh relief WA 124927 in the British Museum, published in Reade 1998a: fig. 6). Perhaps the Assyrian artist in rendering the tent of the enemy simply reproduced the model known to him. In fact, except for the case of the tents depicted in the Assyrian reliefs, there are very few sources of information for reconstructing these types of structures in antiquity. The same applies to a different category of mobile structure, the baghdir, otherwise known in literature by the English term ‘wind catcher’. These were types of pavilions, built with a wooden skeleton and held steady by tie rods, to which mats and canvasses were attached. Their

Figure 123: Detail of a baghdir (left) and a tent (right), as represented on an Assyrian relief, 7th century BC.

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profile took account of the prevailing winds, so that the structure provided protection but at the same time allowed for air exchange and ensured good ventilation. A. Kubba, in his work on the Mesopotamian architecture of Pre- and Protohistory, devoted particular attention to these constructions, which remained popular until modern times (baghdir being the Arabic name, used in Iraq ─ Kubba 1987: 155). Kubba tried to follow its evolution, not only on the basis of examples known from the iconography, but also looked for traces left on existing monuments, in post-holes in particular. However, given the lack of evidence, his valid and well-documented attempts failed to exceed the stage of hypothesis. Funerary buildings Even more than for the previous categories, the theme of funerary architecture can hardly be contained in the space of a paragraph, given the importance of this type of construction and the extreme variety and richness of documentation available across the time span considered. The grave introduced the dead to the afterlife and, at the same time, was the receptacle in this world of the remains of the deceased. Therefore it assumed particular importance in Mesopotamian culture (it is not by chance that Sumerian terms for ‘grave’ are ki-mah, i.e. ‘exalted place’, and uru-gal, ‘great place’. See also the Akkadian šubat darati, ‘house of eternity’, used for royal graves ‒ Potts 1997: 221). However, in a review dedicated to building techniques, this richness and typological variety is only partially translated into issues useful for analysis. A first necessary subdivision is between simple and constructed graves (Strommenger 1957-1971: 581), and only the latter is of interest in terms of building technique: most of the burials of the first type, in pit-graves or simple cists, are not significant from an architectural point of view. In the case of graves consisting of real structures, it should first be noted that only in some cases do they meet criteria and construction methodologies that actually differed from those used for the construction of surface buildings. The difference between funerary and surface buildings mainly concerned the solutions adopted for the construction of the coverings, as well as the expedients to overcome the problems arising from pressures to be expected while building the structure, and after it was complete. The underground context, compared to the surface one, obliged, and at the same time stimulated different approaches and therefore allowed experimentations which later resulted in methods transferable also to surface architecture. In addition, from a strictly archaeological point of view, funerary structures are of particular interest because they are almost always better preserved than surface ones, especially for roofs and wall elevations. Built graves intended for the burial of individuals began to appear at least in the al-Ubaid period, but these offer little of interest as they were generally simple cists lined in brick. Monumental tombs have more to say. One of the complexes of most significance for studying building techniques applied to underground structures is undoubtedly that of the Royal Cemetery of Ur, excavated by L. Woolley at the beginning of the last century (Figure 124). The cemetery stretches southeast of the Ur III temenos, and was in use between the Early Dynastic IIIa and IIIb (26th25th centuries BC). Finds have been made of the tombs of high dignitaries, famous especially for their extraordinary regalia (see Zettler, Horne 1998 for a general summary). L. Woolley paid particular attention to the analysis of the technical details of these structures (1934: 228237 especially). The underground conditions seem to have been particularly conducive to experimentation with compression systems, and we have several examples of corbels together 121

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with true arches. Their construction was favoured by the absence of lateral pressures, as the structures were built against the walls of previously excavated pits. An important indication given by the tombs in this regard is that it would be a mistake to attribute exact chronological values to the two covering systems. Certainly, the corbel arches preceded the true arches, and Figure 124: Different kinds of coverings used in the evidence of this can be underground buildings of the Royal Cemetery at Ur, found not only at Ur but mid 3rd millennium BC. at other Early Dynastic sites, such as Mari (Parrot 1935: 9, pl. 2. 4) and Tutub (Heinrich 1957-1971: 328). However, it is important to note that once Mesopotamians developed the skills to build arches and vaults, they did not completely abandon corbels – the two systems coexisted. Woolley (1934: 233) noted this in the Ur cemetery, where it is clear that the corbel vault was widely used as well in tombs that were later than those with real vaults. The same is recognisable in other localities and characterises the achievements of the more recent periods. Other great monumental Mesopotamian funerary complexes are the Assyrian ones, exemplified above all by the tombs of the Ashur necropolis, published by A. Haller (1954: 104-122 especially), as well as the most recent discoveries of monumental tombs inside the Palace of Kalhu (Hussein 2008). The construction in an underground space, therefore with natural walls and clear space on the surface, offered the advantage of greater containment of lateral pressures, but also involved the practical problems of construction when erecting walls; occurring because it was not possible to work on the two sides of a wall. Again, the Ur cemetery helps us understand how, in the face of particular circumstances, specific methods were developed and adapted to the needs of the moment. Woolley (1934: 229-230) underlined the doubts raised by the structures of many tombs during excavation. In many cases, in fact, the stones of the wall elevations seemed so irregular and, above all, irregularly disposed, to make it difficult to imagine how they could guarantee the stability of the original walls. The remains, particularly well preserved on one side of a tomb (PG/777) enabled reconstruction of the method evidently adopted to construct the wall, that the author defines as a ‘coffer dam’. The evident imprints of wooden boards showed that the wall had been erected by first raising a sort of wooden formwork, parallel to the foundation pit, and then filled from above with stones and debris mixed with mud; everything was then compressed, as in the case of pisé, or as with modern concrete constructions. Unfortunately, there are no remains enabling us to know if this method was also used beyond funeral architecture, i.e. for surface structures, either at the time of the Royal Ur Cemetery or later.

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Conclusions Concluding this short review of Mesopotamian building techniques by discussing Ur’s ‘coffer dam’, means we can emphasise the essential characteristics of the architecture of ancient Mesopotamia. Even if it used more perishable and fragile materials, compared to neighbouring regions – Egypt, the Levant and Anatolia – Mesopotamian architecture demonstrated a surprising ability to adapt to different situations and, above all, was not at all hindered by what, according to a superficial analysis, may seem limitations. About the so-called ‘primitive architecture’, E. Guidoni writes that ‘… architecture develops and branches out, as an instrument of social life, despite environmental limitations, and not because of them.’ (translated from the original Italian text in Guidoni 1975: 5). The ‘environmental limitations’ of Mesopotamia did not stand in the way of its architectural development, but rather encouraged experimentation and a search for systems capable of overcoming difficulties. As always in these cases, they produced, even over long periods and through not always linear paths, innovations that allowed for monumental and sophisticated constructions. In addition, they contributed to develop skills that played a role in the history of architecture over the whole Mediterranean basin, much more than is evident today. Some lines by Woolley (1934: 235-236) on excavations at the Ur cemetery underline this issue: ‘It was astonishing to realise that the basic forms of all modern architecture, the column, the arch, the vault, the apse, and the dome were familiar to the Sumerian builders of the fourth millennium before Christ, yet concrete examples of all these are preserved to us.’ Today, it is not easy to deepen our knowledge of ancient Mesopotamia: archaeological research, especially in the Middle East, is not in good health. In this first 20 years of the new century, such research seems particularly threatened and destined to become less and less a necessity and more and more a luxury (and to which, therefore, it is always easier, however painful, to renounce). However, studies in building archaeology allow for non-invasive and ‘light-archaeology’ interventions, thanks to the continuous improvements in the performance of specialist instruments, and the development of technologies increasingly accessible also in terms of cost (e.g. results obtained with the most recent photogrammetry systems, when combined with those of the much more expensive laser scanners). Building surveys reduce the need for archaeological excavations, and, in the case of Mesopotamia, has at its disposal a rich heritage of architecture, both considering the monumental remains still standing that are yet to be directly analysed, and the already published data. In terms of the latter, even the oldest publications, from times when the methodological approach was not the current one, often return information of real use for new analyses and interpretations. In other words, the field of building archaeology is a potentially very rich one for investigation, which can be carried out through economically sustainable projects and according to current research standards. This short optimistic note concludes this review, in the hope that that the many doubts and gaps in the current documentation, discussed in the brief outline presented here, can be resolved thanks to new research. This will make it possible to reconstruct the history of a technical tradition that is at the base of the architecture, and therefore of the general context, in which we live today. 123

Appendix: the methods of building archaeology by Piero Gilento What is and what does ‘building archaeology’ deal with? This chapter aims to illustrate the methods of building archaeology and its practices and techniques for working in the field. Building archaeology is a relative recent methodology, established in Europe from the early 1980s (see page 1. For a recent overview on this subject, see Vanetti 2019 in particular). It studies constructions using archaeological ‘tools’, particularly stratigraphy and typology, in order to gather information useful to reconstruct their history, without the mediation of aesthetic and formal superstructures. Although this research metodology is based on the stratigraphic archaeology, different countries developed it in various ways, according to local experiences and architectural heritages (Italy: Mannoni 1984, Mannoni, Crusi 1989, Parenti 1985; 1988a; 1988b; Brogiolo 1988; Boato 2008; Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012; Spain: Caballero Zoreda 1986; Azkarate Garai-Olaun 2008; Martín Morales, de Vega García 2010; Quiros Castillo 2012; France: Bessac 1986; Arlaud, Burnauf 1993; Reveyron 2010; Blin, Henrion 2019; United Kingdom: Morriss 2000; Germany: VDL 2016, to quote the main ones). Recently, the international colloquium Archéologie du bâti. Aujourd’hui et demain (ABAD – Auxerre, 10-12 October 2019) made it possible to take stock of the current state of building archaeology, thus giving useful indications for the future development of this method. On the whole, Building archaeology is a methodology whose practices are very flexible and able to adapt to cultural contexts that are very different from each other. The archaeologist needs to be able to dialogue with specialists of other disciplines: conservation, statics, building safety… Therefore, the research covers topics not only related to archaeology and history, but also sociology, environment, technology, and so on. A noteworthy feature of building archaeology is to have a ‘light’ methodology for operating in the field, compared to that of an archaeological excavation, both in terms of time and cost. During a building archaeology survey, a large amount of data useful for research can be collected, thanks to few or no invasive investigation methods. The research results are particularly meaningful for any architectural conservation project. Moreover, the close relationship with the techniques of graphic survey, which are constantly evolving, allows building archaeology to play an important role for the enhancement of the cultural heritage, as well as for the disclosure of information to a wider audience, thanks to techniques such as 3D modelling and IVR (Immersive Virtual Reality). Furthermore, the development of building archaeology methods is increasingly linked to that of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantitative analyses. Recent experiments are laying the groundwork for new research methods that should allow us automatically to define complex stratigraphic sequences in historical buildings, through statistical-mathematical and geometrical processes (see, e.g., the análisis clúster method proposed in Azkarate Garai-Olaun, García-Gómez, Mesanza-Moraza 2018). The following text provides an overview of research methods, based mainly on experiences gained by the undersigned in the Laboratory of Building Archaeology of the University of 124

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Siena, and in the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Ancient Construction Techniques (ACTECH) at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, as well as during several field researches undertaken mainly in Jordan, at the site of Umm al-Surab (Anastasio, Gilento, Parenti 2016). Some initial premises are essential in terms of undertaking effective building archaeology research: a.

Building archaeology deals with constructions for which a chronological sequence of constructive actions can be recognised.

b.

Building archaeology focuses on the analysis of data provided by the construction itself, which is therefore considered as a ‘direct source’ of information.

c.

The main tools for gathering data useful to the research are: stratigraphy, typology of materials, study of constructive techniques, and archaeometric analyses.

Architectural stratigraphy Architectural stratigraphy is the result of positive (=construction) and negative (=destruction) actions caused by man or nature on a building over time. These actions produce more or less important changes to the construction’s original state. The signs of these actions remain, more or less evident, both on horizontal (pavements, ceilings, roofs) and vertical (walls, pillars, columns) surfaces. They can be identified and recorded through careful direct observation. Three essential steps may be listed: a) identification of the physical borders of each building activity that can be recognised in the analysed construction; b) determination of the relationships between all the identified building activities; c) interpretation of the whole set of data gathered during the previous steps. The method of stratigraphic reading for the architecture follows the rules of archaeological stratigraphy elaborated by E.C. Harris at the end of the 1970s, based on the principles of geological stratigraphy and adapted for analysis of archaeological excavations. One of the main novelties of this method was the chronological and spatial organisation of the layers in a diagram, the so-called ‘Harris Matrix’ (Harris 1979). The stratigraphy of a building is artificial, ‘built by man’ (Parenti 1988a: 250). It is the result of a series of actions carried out by a group of people, more or less specialised, who organised some materials into a defined space, using certain techniques, with the purpose of building a precise structure. Certain living and functional characteristics of the construction were determined by a project, or at least by a general concept, based on choices dictated by needs and tastes. Moreover, the structure of an historical construction can be complex because it is composed of elements that respect a geometry whose statics, function and spatial organisation may change over time. This complexity can only be understood thanks to a process of ‘virtual decomposition’ and hierarchical organisation of all the elements that make up the whole building.

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Figure 125: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: from the whole Architectural Complex (AC), to the single Stratigraphic Building Units (SBU).

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This process can be performed according to different procedures, depending on adopted typologies and work-flows. For example, a model of organisation now well consolidated and widely applied in Italy, based on the experiences gained by several scholars since the 1980s (Brogiolo 1988: 14; Parenti 1988a: 276), is as follows: the whole construction can be defined as an ‘Architectural Complex; (hereafter, AC) which in turn can be subdivided into more ‘Building Elements’ (BE), that are the individual building structures that can be distinguished via easily recognisable features, such as a tower, an apse, a courtyard, etc. At a more detailed level, the analysis should consider the ‘External Fronts’ (EF) and the ‘Internal Fronts’ (IF), the ‘Functional Units’ (FU), i.e. the delimited spaces in which each BE is divided, the ‘Horizontal Surfaces’ (HS), i.e. floorings, ceilings, roofs, etc., and the ‘Architectural Elements’ (AE), i.e. arches, pillars, etc. All these categories are considered as ‘Reference Units’ (RU), used to describe the geometry of the building, whose historical evolution (stratigraphic sequence) is determined by the identification of the ‘Stratigraphic Building Units’ (SBU), that are detailed below (Figure 125). Summary: Architectural Stratigraphy is the sum total of ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ acts of construction, reconsideration and changes to the initial plan of a building, as well as any collapses and reconstructions due to human factors (demolition, restoration) or natural ones (i.e. earthquakes). All of this information is recorded in the structure of the building itself and must be meticulously identified and decoded. Decoding signs left on the horizontal and vertical surfaces of buildings reveal the passage of time for these structures, which is one of the main questions in archaeological research. Stratigraphy thus becomes an analytical tool that can give reliable information and help delineate the outlines of construction techniques, the architectural typologies and, in particular, the history of a building. What is a Stratigraphic Building Unit (SBU)? A Stratigraphic Building Unit (SBU) corresponds to each homogeneous building action, which represents a specific moment in the construction’s history. A work of masonry, such as a stratigraphic layer in the ground, has its own geometry, i.e. a surface, an outline, a volume, and a stratigraphic position that determines its contemporaneity, anteriority and posteriority with respect to another. All these physical features can be identified and recorded through direct observation of the construction. The identification of a stratigraphic unit with respect to another depends therefore on the identification of its border, i.e. the ‘interface’, which isolates it and determines its relationship with adjacent units. An SBU can result from ‘constructive actions’ that realise or transform the building (e.g. the erection of a wall or the reconstruction of part of it, the construction of a window, the positioning of a slab, etc.), and can be viewed as ‘positive’ SBUs. Alternatively, ‘destructive actions’ are those caused as a rule by natural activities, such as the natural decay of the structure, structural damage, earthquakes, etc. They can also be the result of man-made actions that subtract matter from the existing structure (e.g. a cut in the wall for a new opening): these can be defined as ‘negative’ SBUs. Plaster, or more generally coatings (Coating Stratigraphic Units ─ CSU), if any, are also considered by the stratigraphic analysis, and are especially useful for the choice of the procedure to be adopted (Doglioni, Parenti 1996). Actually, coatings contain a huge amount of information useful for the recognition of many technical aspects (materials used, colours, the mason’s working methods...), as well as for the reconstruction of the building’s history (e.g. when there is an overlapping of multiple coating layers). Therefore, they may contribute to an increase in our knowledge of the whole construction (e.g. they may give indications about changes in the function or distribution of some parts of the construction). 127

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What stratigraphic relationships exist between the SBUs? Every construction is a three-dimensional object that undergoes positive and negative actions over time (fourth dimension). The parts into which it can be subdivided may be regulated by only three types of physical relationships: anteriority, posteriority, and simultaneity. Anteriority and posteriority are the two basic criteria for defining stratigraphic sequences (options: it is abutted by/it abuts; it is covered by/it covers; it is cut by/it cuts; it is filled by/ it fills) (Figure 126). As a rule, a lower stratum is earlier than an upper one, according to the ‘law of superposition’, although with some due limitations: in fact, this law, formulated for geological sciences, does not always meet the needs of an archaeological context, especially in the case of building archaeology. Actually, here the contrary often occurs: for example, when the foundations of a wall are reinforced with an underpinning, in the topographic position this last one lies beneath the foundations, even though in the stratigraphic sequence it is later than them. In addition, a structure can undergo actions that modify its original form, in full or in part, adding or removing material according to some specific sequences: a) it is abutted by/ it abuts (e.g. a wall that is later than another, against which it leans, to work as a partition); b) it is covered by/it covers (e.g. a wall is covered by a later plaster, or a new floor covers an earlier one); c) it is cut by/it cuts (e.g. a wall is cut to build a window, or a cut is caused by natural events, such as an earthquake. These actions are recognisable only thanks to ‘negative interfaces’, according to Harris (1979: 68, 90-91), that define the borders between the part of the wall still standing and the missing one); d) it is filled by/it fills (e.g. an empty space derived from a cut or any other damage is filled in by new material, forming a different and more recent unit).

Figure 126: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relations of ‘anteriority’ and ‘posteriority’.

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Figure 127: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the West Church. Example of relation of ‘contemporaneity’ (binds with).

Simultaneity indicates that two parts of a structure have been built at the same time, and it is regulated by the two sequences: same as and binds with (Figure 127). Same as indicates the presence of two masonry parts that are identical, even though they are physically separated (e.g. because of a layer of plaster, or a cut in the wall for the construction of a door, or a partition to divide a room). Furthermore, two walls may not be in contact, but share the same characteristics in terms of the materials used and construction techniques; such a similarity may be an indication that the two walls are contemporary. Binds with is used instead in cases such as when two walls that meets at a corner, and the beds of their bricks or stones are on the same level, and joints are regularly alternated. In this case also it is likely that the two walls are contemporary. However, it must be remembered that, sometimes, two contemporary walls may have been built with different techniques and/or materials. In this case, the analysis of the stratigraphy and the functional relationships between the various elements can help us recognise that two SBUs are contemporary, despite their morphological difference. Typology and chronotypology in building archaeology Typology is closely connected to stratigraphy. It is a process of subdivision, distribution and classification that can be applied to all architectural elements (e.g. walls, doors, windows..) that share specific features, thus forming ‘types’. Chronotypology is a work tool of building archaeology that aims to obtain reliable chronologies thanks to the recording of all those technical and formal features (i.e. the materials and techniques, the shape of the elements, their sizes ) shared by all the elements of a certain type and used in a specified time (Ferrando Cabona, Mannoni, Pagella 1989). All the elements sharing well-defined features are grouped in ‘types’ that can be sorted into tables, with their positions determined by the chronological order resulting from the stratigraphic analysis (Figure 128). The first chronological organisation is therefore a ‘relative’ one, and provides indications on the anteriority, posteriority, and/or simultaneity of one type with respect to another. An ‘absolute’ dating instead is possible only 129

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Figure 128: Umm al-Jimal (Jordan), the Architectural Complex of the so-called ‘Barracks’. Above: stratigraphic reading of the eastern front; below: orthophoto with the outline of the main masonry techniques of each phase.

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when information from other sources (inscriptions, iconographic sources, archaeometric data, etc.) allow the precise dating of one or more elements of the table. A ‘chronotype’ indicates a group of architectural elements that share the same distinctive characters within a delimited space and in a defined chronological range. A chronotypological table (Figure 129) is reliable only where two essential requirements are fulfilled, i.e. the context is consistent and clear, and the amount of available data is significant. Therefore the analysis should cover a geographically defined and culturally homogeneous area, and the number of case-studies necessary to enable analysis cannot be defined a priori, but it is clear however that the lower the number of case-studies, the greater the margin of error. With a good number of case-studies it is possible to well define the types and record the

Figure 129: Chronotypological table of masonry techniques and openings of the ‘Barracks’ at Umm al-Jimal (Jordan).

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changes that have taken place in the production of a particular territory over time. In such cases the chronotype can be a very useful tool for historical reconstruction – not only of an individual building, but for all the context of which it is part. Summary: The basic concept of chronotypology is to identify particular constructive elements that associate them with the period when they were used. For any single element, distinctive features may include materials, construction techniques, shapes or dimensions. It has to be noted that chronotopology applies to element types, not the whole building. Data become meaningful when large volumes of the same common-use element are identified. The core of the method is a scheme recording the meaningful instances of constructive elements that are associated with an appropriate date period and obtained by other dating methods: e.g. surveys, excavations, epigraphs, inscriptions and building typologies (for

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example, mosques and minarets – which did not exist prior to a certain date). The period boundary is marked by the oldest and most recent occurrences of the element in an homogeneous territory (regional or sub-regional scale). How to work Several protocols exist to manage work in the field and data collection, based on different methodologies and approaches (ICOMOS 1990; Boato 2008; Bedford, Papworth 2009; Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012. See also the Web documentary Archéologie du Bâti 2018). An example follows which illustrates the main steps. The work of the archaeologist takes place mainly in the field, i.e. at the excavation site or conservation project in progress, collecting information about the construction and the context in which it is located. Then the data gathered are processed, with the collaboration of specialists in different disciplines, who can support the archaeologist to pursue specific results (archaeometric analyses, archive research…), the analysis of the epigraphic remains, etc. The whole procedure can be divided into seven main steps: 1) Observation and positioning; 2) Registration; 3) Analysis; 4) Re-Organisation (Matrix); 5) Interpretation; 6) and Dating. A further fundamental step (7) is that of the presentation of the achieved results to the scientific community and the wider public, but this issue is not covered here. Of course, this is just a scheme to simplify a process that must be considered as a single operation on the whole. Based on the project to be carried out and the availability of human and financial resources, building archaeology can be applied both over a large area or a single site, i.e. it can take groups of buildings or a single building into consideration; the analysis can also focus on just a part of a building, such as a room or a wall, as well as producing micro-stratigraphic analyses, such as those usually applied to coatings. Here, we draw attention to the procedure for analysing a single building. Moreover, we do not consider the work to be done on the ‘indirect sources’ quoted above (page 3). The aim is to highlight the effectiveness of this system, both in terms of monumental buildings and those typical of vernacular architecture: information from several sources are available for the first group as a rule, while more modest buildings can often be analysed only thanks to direct observation of the buildings themselves. Step 1: observation and positioning. The first step is the careful observation of the construction concerned, in its current state and taking the context in which it is positioned into consideration, in order to assess the degree of accessibility to the structure(s) to be analysed. Then, a first direct contact must be made with the construction, adapting to the circumstances. A construction can be isolated in a land- or townscape, and have therefore all its four (or more) fronts accessible: this is an ideal but rare situation. Alternatively it may only have a small portion visible from the outside (for example, when the building is part of a group and leans on other buildings). Some further preliminary questions must be answered: is the inside of the construction fully or only accessible in part? What are its main building materials? Do underground built spaces exist, and to what extent are they preserved and accessible? Finally,

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Figure 130: Drawing of the church and monastery of Saint George at Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), made at the beginning of the survey. The drawing already contains the main information for the architectural survey: measurements, stratigraphic relations, notes on details… (drawing by Roberto Parenti, 2011).

is there any plaster coating? The success of the analysis largely depends on a correct first approach to these preliminary and fundamental issues. At this stage, the archaeologist generally records data, adding schematic plans (Figure 130) and sketches of the elevations. It is important to take photographs, both panoramic and targeted on details: these photographs can be printed and serve as a first graphic base for recording the notes taken in the field. Recently, the widespread use of tablets has speeded up and simplified this operation, mainly because they allow the user to take high resolution images and record notes at the same time (Fiorini 2012). As for the positioning of the construction, it is important 135

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to understand whether sources of supply of materials, such as stone or clay quarries, as well as rivers and roads existed nearby. This part of the work, therefore, requires the use of topographical and geological maps of the territory and aerial images. Step 2: registration. This step involves the geometric recording of constructive actions, reconstructing the stratigraphic relationships between the different elements that make up the whole structure, by means of a ‘critical survey’. In cases where no graphic and photographic documentation were made prior to the recording it is necessary to draw the plan, elevations and, possibly, the sections of the construction. This operation can be accomplished either by carrying out a direct survey, i.e. taking the measurements first hand, or using indirect measuring instruments, i.e. those that do not require direct contact with the structure: total station, laser scanner or GPS (Global Positioning System). In an ideal situation, the two systems can be used in combination: the digital instruments can be used to realise the general plan with the greater metric precision, while the direct measurements integrate all those details that require a direct survey. As for the realisation of the plans, it can be very helpful to make use of satellite and aerial photographs, as well as those taken by drones (even though the use of the latter is sometimes limited or even forbidden in the Middle East). The drawing of an effective plan is a demanding task and requires good skills in observation and graphic synthesis. The plan must contain all information that will be useful to reconstruct the history of the building: the more information the plan contains, the more thorough the analysis will be. It should be considered that the resulting graphic documentation must be usable also by specialists of different disciplines, such as architects, engineers, conservators, etc., and therefore plans must be clear and unambiguous. Furthermore, it must be remembered that the plan will record horizontal information, i.e. all those data laying on a single level: it must therefore be possible to effectively connect the plan with the drawings of the related elevations in which the vertical information is recorded. Modern technologies have greatly supported this. Digital photogrammetry, in particular, has undergone a rapid evolution in recent years and today it is possible to use even non-professional digital cameras and inexpensive image processing software to obtain good metric images, i.e. orthophotos, in a relatively short time. Orthophotos are essential to record the technical and metric features of all the architectural elements (walls, floors, arches, etc.), for use in the analyses of building techniques and for conservation projects in particular. Furthermore, they provide a reliable basis for obtaining so-called ‘stone-by-stone’ surveys of the registered surfaces (Figure 131). Some software allows one to draw directly on the point-clouds to obtain a three-dimensional ‘wire-frame’ model (Figure 132). Of course, the choice of recording methods and tools depends on the goals of the project and the available human and financial resources. If digital photogrammetry or point-clouds cannot be used, then it is possible to use traditional photographs, provided that they are coplanar, with the surfaces analysed to the maximum extent. Otherwise, as well as for the plan, the information will be gathered by means of a direct survey. Step 3: analysis. The analysis of the building can be divided into three steps: identification, breakdown, and description of the SBUs. This process takes place thanks to the combined use of two basic tools of archaeology, i.e. stratigraphy and typology. All the Reference Units (RUs) making up the geometry of the structure must first be identified, then the Stratigraphic Building Units (SBUs). As a rule, the work starts from the external fronts of the constructions and later moves to the inside (Figure 133). The macroscopic differences are recorded first, 136

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Figure 131: Samah al-Sarhan (Jordan), internal front of the presbyterial zone of the church and monastery of Saint George: a) orthophoto from a terrestrial digital photogrammetry; b) ‘stone-by-stone’ drawing carried out on the orthophoto; c) elaboration, with indication of the building periods.

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Figure 132: Umm al-Surab (Jordan), the Architectural Complex (AC) of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) 3D wire-frame model drawn on the point-cloud; b) obtained from terrestrial digital photogrammetry (after Parenti 2012: 190, fig. 3).

before the survey of technical details. There are many variables to be taken into account: e.g. shapes; size and position of materials; presence or absence of mortar in coatings and joints; surface processing and finishing – just to mention the main ones (Parenti 1988b). Special features should also be considered, such as the type and distribution of damage to the construction, the type of wall sections (in particular, taking note of the presence or not of bond stones), the presence of wooden or metal parts. These data may prove fundamental for the effective reconstruction of the construction’s history (Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012: 40, 56-57), and of the series of events that have determined the current statics of the building (Lagomarsino, Boato 2010). A continuous line on the drawing distinguishes each SBU adjacent to the others. All SBUs are identified by a unique ID number or code. In addition, SBUs are described in detail by means of dedicated cards (Figure 134). A long tradition of studies, carried out by different scholars in different countries, has provided a huge range of models for organising work-flow and recording data. Record cards may be detailed or contain no more than the main information, above all positioning, geometric data, materials and their characteristics. These data can be later integrated with other information obtained thanks to the processing of data performed off-site, and with the support of photographs and drawings. For more complex buildings surveys can produce thousands of SBUs. For this reason it is important to organise this part of the work with great care, foreseeing a deepening of the 138

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Figure 133: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Combined analysis of the external fronts and plan of an Architectural Complex (orthophoto elaborated by Gourguen Davtian, 2019).

analysis thanks to records dedicated to plasters, stucco, mosaics and various types of flooring (CSUs), as well as to building techniques (e.g. to describe masonry types), or to precise architectural elements, such as doors, windows, arches, pillars, etc. The whole procedure generates a large amount of heterogeneous data (metadata) that can be managed by various information systems, including on-line databases for conservation projects, Building Information Modelling (BIM) applications, and reality based 3D annotation platforms for the shared documentation of heritage artefacts (examples of these systems, among others, are SICaRweb in Italy, PetroBIM in Spain, AÏOLI in France, and the Arches platform in the USA – for URLs, see Web resources page 144). Step 4: re-organisation (Matrix). The synthesis and re-organisation of all the gathered information is realised through the distribution of the data via a stratigraphic diagram, or ‘Harris Matrix’, the tool that organises SBUs in space and time, providing the basis for further interpretations. Each SBU is represented by its ID in the diagram, so that is has a relative temporal value and a precise position in respect of the other adjacent SBUs. Graphically, vertical lines represent the relationships of anteriority and posteriority, while horizontal lines indicate simultaneity. All this can turn in very complex graphic representations, but the practice helps to simplify, selecting significant information and skipping overabundant ones. It should be remembered that the sequence of the stratigraphic diagram is relative, i.e. it represents the sequence in 139

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Figure 134: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Architectural Complex 24. Registration card of the main features of the masonry technique.

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which the constructive actions have succeeded, without giving information on their absolute dating. Step 5: interpretation. All the information collected on the spot and organised in the matrix must ultimately be interpreted. Although the interpretation is the last step of the proposed workflow, it actually occurs also in all the previous phases of the research. In fact, wherever we record an SBU we put questions about its nature, formation and relationships with the other SBUs. Analysis of the ‘rough data’ turns into a reorganisation of SBUs, which can be sorted into three main categories: a) Activity, b) Phase, and c) Period. Activity is a set of individual actions (SBUs) which all together form a single ‘action’ (e.g. a set of holes in the masonry can correspond to the system of ‘putlog’ holes, made during the erection of the building). Multiple Activities form a Phase – a moment in the building’s history when a part of it was modified, but without significant changes to the whole structure (e.g. the infill of some windows and the opening of others may simply suggest a general reorganisation of some rooms of the building). A major change in the history of the building is instead indicated by a Period (e.g. the demolition of a façade or addition of a bell tower in a church, etc.) (Figure 135). The analysis can further be developed by investigating cultural, social and economic issues: for instance, identifying the commissioners and the workforce, the transfer of technical knowledge and skills, the dwelling patterns, the general organisation of the worksites. Step 6: dating. The problem of dating arises both for monumental buildings and for nonmonumental ones. The latter are harder to date as a rule as they lack the decorative elements and stylistic motifs that are frequently found on monumental buildings (i.e. the chronotypology of decorative elements); in addition, vernacular structures are rarely cited in written and iconographic documents. Archaeometric and stratigraphic analyses help solve problems of interpretation and dating (a significant example, in a different context, is that of the recent studies on Early Medieval churches in Spain – Caballero Zoreda, Mateos 2000; Utrero Agudo 2012). Reconstruction history is possible thanks to ‘chronological indicators’, deductible both from indirect and direct sources. As stated above, the former are those not directly connected with the building: historical sources, cartography, iconography, oral traditions, etc. Direct sources are those deriving from the observation of the building (Mannoni 1984 and Parenti 1988b) and can be divided into ‘relative sources’, i.e. stratigraphy, typology and construction techniques, and ‘absolute sources’, i.e. inscriptions, mensiocronology, laboratory analysis (see pages 3-8). Inscriptions are particularly meaningful for dating, but they may also provide information on other issues, such as the identification of the builders or the function of the building itself. The stratigraphic analysis will make it clear, whether the inscription is in situ or if it was positioned there at a later time (Figure 136). Mensiochronology is a method for obtaining dating through statistical processing of measurements of elements produced in series, such as bricks or stone blocks (although successful applications of mensiochronology to these last ones are uncommon). It allows very precise dating, has very low costs, and has given good results in the contexts for which it was applied. The method consists in systematically measuring the bricks or stones of buildings that are in a well-defined context, and that are datable thanks to other indirect sources. A statistical and quantitative analysis of the average values found in the analysed samples for each building produces a Gaussian distribution of data (provided that the variations are due to chance), which 141

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Figure 135: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Chronological interpretation of the façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus.

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Figure 136: Umm al-Surab (Jordan). Façade of the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus: a) photograph taken by Renato Bartoccini in the 1930s with the inscribed lintel still in situ; b) photograph taken by François Villeneuve in 1979: The lintel is still in situ; c) orthophoto taken in 2009: The lintel is missing and a large part of the wall has been significantly refurbished in 2006.

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are represented in a so-called ‘mensiochronological curve’. This can be a useful reference tool for the dating of other buildings for which no indirect sources are available (Mannoni, Milanese 1988; Pittaluga 2009; Pittaluga, Pagella 2015). There are some limitations to the application of this method however, yet it is effective at a territorial level because it depends on data about available building materials and production techniques. Furthermore, mensiochronology relies on a socalled ‘chronological curve’, which is realised by calculating the average values of masonry units (bricks, stones) belonging to the Stratigraphic Building Units already dated via other indirect or direct sources. These data allow a table of measures to be created, in which the variations of size of masonry units over time are expressed, giving useful references for dating other buildings constructed with the same materials in the region concerned. Laboratory analyses (radiocarbon, thermoluminescence, dendrochronology) may also have some limits and require particular care for their effective use. The choice of the sample is always critical, as it must be based on a precise knowledge of the stratigraphic sequence in which the sample is located: the sample must come from a clear sequence, with no sign of manipulation or contamination that can result from conservation works or application of plaster. In addition, the dating method depends on the material from which the sample is made. For example, mortar can be dated using three different methods: chronotypology, radiocarbon and thermoluminescence. The first relates specifically to the mortar’s chemical, mineralogical and petrographic composition, which can vary. Recognising such differences can provide useful information for the dating of the sample. Radiocarbon allows for the dating of both the mortar’s charcoal inclusions and the lime fragments that did not mix with the aggregate. Thermoluminescence (also called Optically-Stimulated Luminescence, OSL) is a dating technique used to date the last time the quartz sediment was exposed to light in the mortars. In all these cases, the analyses depend on the presence or not of some materials in the mortars, therefore not all methods can be applied to all the samples. Finally, it must be remembered that all these methods can produce intrinsic errors. For this reason it is always better to cross-reference the results of different dating methods and to compare the analyses (on the subject of mortar analysis and dating using the above-mentioned methods, see in particular Vecchiattini 2019; Pesce 2019; Urbanová 2019). Web resources ABAD: Archéologie du bâti. Aujourd’hui et demain (Auxerre, 10-12 October 2019). Online: https://abad2019.sciencesconf.org/ ACTECH: Ancient Construction techniques. Building Traditions, Technological Innovations and Workmanship Circulation: From Roman Arabia to Medieval Europe. MSCA-IF-2015EF-Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship Individual Fellowship 703829. Online: https://actech.hypotheses.org/ Aïoli Platform. Online: http://www.aioli.cloud Archéologie du bâti 2018: Lefebvre B., Delpech Fr., Michaud N., 2018, Webdocumentaire ‘Archéologie du bâti ou comment lire un mur’. Université Toulouse – Jean Jaurès. Online: http://adb-uoh. univ-tlse2.fr/#Accueil. ARCHES. Online: https://www.archesproject.org/ SICaRweb: Sistema Informativo per i Cantieri di Restauro. Online: http://sicar.beniculturali. it:8080/website/ PetroBIM – Online: http://petrobim.com/ 144

Thematic bibliography Essays dealing with the history of ancient architecture, focused on Mesopotamia: Aurenche 1981a; Badawy 1966; Cauvin 1978; Crawford 1977; 2007; Dunham 2001; Forest 1996; Graziosi 1967; Gullini 1970-1971; Heinrich 1934; 1977a; 1977b; Jasim 1985; Kubba 1987; Kurapkat 2014; Leacroft, H., Leacroft, R. 1974; Lloyd 1978; Lloyd, Muller, Martin 1974; Margueron 1989; 1991; Müller-Karpe 1974; 1980; Pfälzner 2011; Sievertsen 2014. Comparisons with building technologies of neighbouring regions: Arnold 1991; 2003 (Egypt); Aston, Harrell, Shaw 2000 (Egypt); Goyon, Golvin, Simon-Boidot et al. 2004 (Egypt); Humphrey, Oleson, Sherwood 1998 (Greece and Rome); Kemp 2000 (Egypt); Lucas 1962 (Egypt); Naumann 1971 (Anatolia); Nicholson, Shaw 2000 (Egypt); Saner 1999 (Anatolia); Shaw 2009 (Minoan); Wright 1992 (Greece and the Aegean). Building archaeology developed differently in various countries (page 1). France: Arlaud, Burnauf 1993; Blin, Henrion 2019; Boto-Varela, Hartmann-Virnich, Nussbaum et al. 2012; Esquieu 1997; Journot 1999; Parron-Kontis, Reveyron 2008, 2010; Reveyron 2008. Germany: Cramer 1987; Schuller 2002; Sieversten 1999; VDL 2016. Holland: Van Tussenbroek 2000. Italy: Beltramo 2009; Boato 2008; Boato, Pittaluga 2010; Brogiolo, Cagnana 2012; D’Ulizia 2005; Doglioni 2008; Mannoni 1984, 1994; 2005; Parenti 1988a; 1988b; 2000; 2002. Spain: Caballero Zoreda 1987; 2002; Caballero Zoreda, Fernández Mier 1997; Martin Morales, de Vega García 2010; Quirós Castillo 2002. United Kingdom: Harris 2003; Morriss 2004; Reynolds 2009; Wood 1994. Useful dictionaries and glossaries can be found in: Abdul Massih, Bessac 2008 (stone); Aurenche 1977; Bates, Jackson 1997 (geology); BIA 1975 (brick terminology); Davies, Jokiniemi 2008; ICOMOS-ISC 2008 (stone deterioration); Joannes 2001; Leick 1988; MIA 2016 (chapter 23: stone); Ragette 2003: 281-290 (glossary of Arabic terms); Reich, Katzenstein 1992 (Israel); WCTB 2019 (bricks and tiles). On post-excavation analyses: Aitken 1985 (thermoluminescence); Evin, Oberlin, Daugas et al. 1998 (radiocarbon); Ferrando Cabona, Mannoni, Pagella 1989 (chronotypology); Goffer 2007 (archaeological chemistry); Liritzis, Vafiadou 2005 (thermoluminescence); Mannoni, Milanese 1988 (mensiochronology); Orcel, A., Orcel, C., Dormoy 1993 (dendrochronology); Rapp 2009 (archaeomineralogy). On cuneiform sources: Heimpel 2009; Owen, Mayr 2007; Rouault 2009; Sauvage 2011a; 2015; 2016b; Veenhof 1996; Villard 2006; 2009. On iconographic sources: Abrahami 2009b (architectural drawing on tablets); Albenda 2018 (Assyrian reliefs); Amiet 1975 (representations in glyptic); Andrae 1922 (architectural models: pls. 13-17); 1938 (architectural models, pp. 75 and representations in glyptic, p. 111); Aurenche 1981b: 184; Bretschneider 1991 (architectural models); Collon 1987 (representations in glyptic); Delougaz 1960 (representations on steatite vases); Gillmann 2016 (representations in Assyrian art); Gunter 1982 (representations in Assyrian reliefs); Heinrich 1957 (architectural representations in Sumerian art); Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘Architecture representations’); Lichter 145

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2007 (architectural models); Majidzadeh 2003 (representations on chlorite and steatite vases); Masetti-Rouault 2009 (architectural models); Micale 2011 (Assyrian reliefs); Muller, B. 1996; 2002; 2009 (architectural models); Muller, B., Vaillancourt 2001 (architectural models); Schachner 2007 (reliefs on the Balawat Gates); Seidl 1972-1975 (architectural models); Tucker 1994 (reliefs on the Balawat Gates). On the ability of early photographic archives to reconstruct ancient Mesopotamian buildings over the last two centuries: Anastasio, Saliola 2014; Bohrer 2011 ; Perez 1988. The Mesopotamian context On geology and landscape water management: Adams 1981; Adams, Nissen 1972; Bagg 2012a; 2012b; 2012c; Borowski 1997; Buringh 1960; Cauvin 1981; Ellis, M. 1976; Eyre 1995; Garfinkel 2010; Gasche, Tanret 1998; Gebel 2010; Geyer, Monchambert 2003; Hruške 2007; Ionides 1937; Jacobsen 1960; 1982; Jassim, Goff 2006; Klengel, Renger 1999; Koldewey 1913: 16-23; Kubba 1987: 15-19; Louis 1986; Margueron 1991: 133-144 (vol. I); Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘irrigation’); Miller, R. 1980; Neely, Wright 1994; Niewenhuyse, Nilham 2010; Nützel 2004; Oates, J. 1969; Phillip 2010; Renger 1990; Salonen 1968; Sanlaville 1981; Steinkeller 2001; van Ess 2017; Wilkinson 2003; 2010; 2013; Wilkinson, Tucker 1995. On urbanisation processes and city planning: Algaze 2001; Battini 2018; Castel 1992; Chant 1999; Cooper 2006; De Geus 2003 (focused on the Levant); Eraslan 2006 (south-eastern Anatolia); Flannery 2002; Lamp 1968; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘cities’); Margueron 1991: 21-22 (vol. II); 2013; 2014; Meyer 2011; Novák 1999; 2015; 2017; Oates, J. 1983; Steinert, May 2014; Stone 1991; 1995; Van de Mieroop 1997; Watkins 1998; Wirth 1975. On cartography, topography and surveying: Bagg 2011b; BASOR 1931 (Nuzi map); Battini 2000; Düring 2017; Gibson 1993: 4 (Nippur Map); Hilprecht 1903a: 518 (Nippur map); Fisher 1905: 10 (Nippur map); Millard 1987; Röllig 1980-1983 (ancient cartography). On field measurements: Alivernini 2014; Alivernini, Greco 2014; Forest 1992; Frank 1975; Guralnick 2008; Heinrich, Seid 1967; 1968; Kubba 1987: 129-130; 1998; Lewis 2001 (survey instruments in Greece and Rome); Liverani 1990; Ludwig 1979; Minow 1994; Monaco 2011. On maths and metrology in general: Dilke 1987; Powell 1973; 1982; 1984; 1990; 1995. On the technical competency of Mesopotamian builders: Bobula 1960; Bührig 2010; 2014; Carlbom, Paciorek 1978; Dilke 1987; Eichmann 1991; Hilgert 2014; Kolinski 1996; Neugebauer 1957; Neumann 1987; Pientka-Hinz 2014; Powell 1987; Renn, Osthues, Schlimme 2014; Scheidegger 1994c; Schmid 1985; van Ess 2001; Wolk 2009. Specifically on simple machines: Crouwel 2006-2008; Dalley, Oleson 2003; Giuliani 2008: 255; Haberli, Scheidegger 1994b: 187; Hodges 1970: 185; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘wheel’); Woolley 1934: 228-237. On commissioners, designers and builders: Hansen 1992; Johansen 1978; Suter 2000; Zaccagnini 1976b (on kings as builders). On building and foundation rituals: Ambos 2004; Hruška 1999; Lackenbacher 1981; 1990. On different skills and practices: Abrahami 2009a (builders); Bagg, Cancik-Kirschbaum 2006 (experts); Ebeling 1932 (builders); Foster 1982 (possible use of slaves); Gruben 1994 (architects); Heimpel 2009 (workers); Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘architect’); Matson 1985 (brickmakers); Matthews, R. 1995 (artisans and artists); Neumann 1996 (Sumerian šidim); 146

Thematic bibliography

Postgate 1987 (employers and employees); Richardson 2015 (Larsa case-study); Sauvage 2015; 2016a; 2016b; Seidl 2012 (general); Steinkeller 1987 (foresters); Wiseman 1972 (architects); Zaccagnini 1983 (mobility of ancient craftsmen). On ancient building crafts and technology: Baker 2018; Cech 2010 (especially chapters 4-7); Gaitzsch 1994; Giuliani 2008; Großman 1993; Heisel 1993; Herles 2006-2008; Hervog, Wright, Ruggles 1997; Hodges 1970; Landels 1979; Lloyd 1954; Ludwig 1979; Miller, H.M.L. 2007; Moorey 1985; Morgan, Buckle 1968; Netzer 1992; Oleson 2008; Scheidegger 1994a; Singer, Holmyard, Hall et al. 1954; Walker 1991; Wartke 1994; Woholleben 1993; Wright 1985; 2000 (both focused on Syria and Palestine); Zaccagnini 1976b. Building materials Comprehensive overviews on building materials: Aurenche 1981b: 44-86; Boson, Weidner 1932; Davey 1961; Hervog, Wright, Ruggles 1997; Loud, Altman 1938: 13-17; Margueron 1991: 200-214 (vol. I); Moorey 1994; Paulus 1985; Reich 1992 (Israel); Roaf 1995: 423-424; Woolley 1934: 228-237. On earth architecture: Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘brique’ and ‘pisé’); 1981b: 54-72; 1993; Aurenche, Klein, de Chazelles 2011; Boson, Weidner 1932; Bradford 1954; Bultnick 1968-1969; Campbell, Pryce 2003; Clarck 2003; Davey 1961; Delougaz 1933 (plano-convex bricks); Dethier 1986; Doat, Hays, Houben et al. 1979; Donbaz, Yoffe 1986; Finkbeiner 1986; Friberg 2001; Gasche 1980-1983; George 1995; Guest-Papamanoli 1978 (for comparisons with earth architecture in the Aegean); Houben, Guillaud 1994; Kubba 1987; Lloyd 1954; Loud, Altman 1938: 13-14; Lynch 1994; Moorey 1964 (plano-convex bricks); Moorey 1994: 193-328; Niroumand, Barcelo, Saaly 2016; Oates, D. 1990; Perello 2015 (pisé); Pettinato 1972; Robson 1996; Rosen 1986 (chapter 5: mudbrick studies, pp. 75-91, with analyses of Palestinian mud-bricks); Salonen 1972; Sauvage 1998a; 2000 (planoconvex bricks); 2001; 2009; 2011a; 2011b; 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2016c; Schroeder 2010; Spencer 1979 (for comparisons with brick manufacture in Egypt); Thureau-Dangin 1935; Tunca 1992; Van Aken 1952 (for an overview of brick terminology in the Roman period); Wright 2000: 43. Specifically on chaînage: Aurenche 1981b: 87; Gullini 1985: 135; Jordan 1930: 22; Woolley 1934: 228-237; Wright 2000: 43. On stone: Aladenise 1983; Allen 2017; Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘pierre’); 1981b: 11-18; Bates, Jackson 1997; Bessac 1986; Bessac, Chapelot, De Filippo et al. 2004; Boehmer 1984; Boson, Weidner 1932; Davey 1961; Goffer 2007; Hult 1983 (ashlar); Huot, Marechal 1985 (gypsum); Kubba 1987: 170171; Lloyd 1954; Loud, Altman 1938: 15; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘stone’); MIA 2016; Moorey 1994: 335-346; Noel 1965; Nylander 1965; 1970; 1990 (stonecutting in Achaemenian monuments); Rababeh 2005 (Hellenistic techniques at Petra); Rapp 2009: 45-68, 247-260; Reade 1998b: 13-23; Rockwell 1993; Rondelle 1989; Rossi 2003; Scheidegger 1994b (gypsum); Tudeau 2016; Varène 1974; Veragnoli 1996; Waelkens 1990; Wotton, Russell, Rockwell 2013; Wright 1985; 2000: 45-46 (both focused on Syria and Palestine). Specifically on quarrying techniques: Bessac 2008: figs. 75, 83 (Hellenistic period); Bianchetti 2017; Forbes 1966; Huff 1994 (Iran); Mazzoni 1986-1987; Reade 1990; Russel 1991: 105-114; Waelkens 1992. On the transport of stone: Morandi Bonacossi 2014; Potts 2007; Russel 1991: 105-114; Woolley 1934: 228-237; Wurch-Hozelj 1988.

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On mortars and plasters: Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘juss); BIA 2008; Davey 1961; Garfinkel 1987; Giuliani 2008: 209-225; Gourdin, Kingery 1975 (Egyptian lime plaster); Houben, Guillaud 1994: 259; Huot, Marechal 1985 (gypsum); Loud, Altman 1938: 16; Moorey 1994: 330-332; Parenti 2002: 78 (mortar as chronological indicator); Pecchioni, Fratini, Cantisani 2008; Pesce 2019; Rapp 2009: 261-268; Scheidegger 1994b (gypsum); Thaís Crepaldi Affonso 1997; Urbanová 2019; Vecchiattini 2019; Woolley 1921: 51. On bitumen: Adam 1994; Connan, Deschesne 1991; 1996; Connan, Evershed, Biek et al. 1999; Forbes 1934; 1964; Marschner, Wright 1978; McCown, Haines, Biggs et al. 1978: 16 (possible bitumen furnace); Moorey 1994: 332-334; Ochsenshlager 1992; Pettinato 1972; Stol 2012; Tudeau 2016. On wood: Aurenche 1981b: 73-98; Bleibtreu 1980; Bonavia 1894; Bradford 1954; Buren 1994; Campbell Thompson 1949; Cros 1910: 105; Curtis, Reade 1995: 105; Elayi 1988; Gilbert 1995; Klengel 1967: Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘wood’); Linder 1986; Loud 1936: 107, fig. 114; Loud, Altman 1938: 16; Margueron 1992; Meiggs 1982; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘wood’); Moorey 1994: 360-362; Moorey, Postgate 1992; Ochsenshlager 1992; Postgate 1980; Potts 2007: 133; Powell 1992; Rowton 1967; Steinkeller 1987; Tudeau 2016; Van de Mieroop 1992b; Wright 2000: 45 (focused on Syria and Palestine). On reeds: Heinrich 1934; Hepper 1992; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘reed’); Loud, Altman 1938: 36, 46; Ochsenshlager 1992; Postgate 1980; Sauvage 2011a; 2016b; Tudeau 2016; Van de Mieroop 1992a. On metals: Davey 1961; Moorey 1994: 216-301; Muhly 1983; Potts 2007: 124-130; Reiter 1997; Röllig, Muhly 1983. On claddings and decorations see the following texts, divided according to main topics. On wall paintings: Andrae 1922: pl. 28; 1923; 1938: 76, fig. 36; Assaf 1990 (Mari); Baqir 1946 (DurKurigalzu); Davey 1961; Jaksch, Seipel, Weiner et al. 1983 (Egyptian blue); Kaissi 1984; Kühne 1990 (Dur-Katlimmu); Loud, Altman 1938: 81; McCouat 2018 (Egyptian blue); Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘frescoes’); Moorey 1994: 315; Moortgat 1959; 1964; Nunn 1988; Parrot 1958b (Mari); Pierre 1984; 1987 (Mari); Pierre-Muller 1987 (Mari); Poli 2008 (Tell Masaykh); Reade 1979; Spycket 1988; 1989 (Mari); Stodulski, Farrel, Newman 1984 (for comparisons with Pasargade); Thureau-Dangin, Dunand 1936: 42-74 (Til Barisp); Tomabechi 1983 (Dur-Kurigalzu); 1983-1984 (Til Barsip); 1986 (Nimrud). On architectural glazed decoration: Aloiz, Douglas, Nagel 2016 (Persepolis and Pasargade); Dayton 1978; Fitz 1982; Freestone 1991; Fügert, Gries 2020; Fukai 1981 (Persia); Koldewey 1913: 28-31, 104-105; 1931: pls. 38-39; Mallowan 1966: fig. 373; Matson 1985; 1986; Nunn 1988: 142-159; Reade 1963; 1979: 19; 1995; Soldi 2012; 2019a. On wall reliefs and lamassu: Barnett 1976; Curtis, Reade 1995: 39-91; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘lamassu colossi’ and ‘orthostat’); Loud, Altman 1938: 47-48; Russel 1987; 1991; Werner 1994: 156. On wall decoration with buttresses and recesses: Dougherty 1927 (survival in modern Iraqi architecture); Heinrich 1982: 156-157; Loud, Altman 1938: 36; Miglus 1998-2001; Schmidt, J. 1974; Sieversten 1998. On clay bottles and funnels: Heinrich 1982: fig. 89; Margueron 1982: 32; Soldi 2017; 2919b. On mosaic cones and wall flowers: Behm-Blancke 1989; Brandes 1968; Hall, Woolley 1927: pls. 23, 25, 34.l; Heinrich 1934; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘Stiftmosaik’); Moorey 1994: 309; Nöldecke, Lenzen, Haller et al. 1937; Safar, Mustafa, Lloyd 1981: fig. 118; Trokay 1981; van Ess 2012; 2013b; Werner 1994: 162. On Early Dynastic wall plaques: Boese 1971. On Assyrian knob-plates: Albenda 1991; Anastasio 2010: 148

Thematic bibliography

55; Andrae 1923; 1938: 146; Curtis, Reade 1995: 103; Preusser 1955: pl. 16. On Assyrian Ishtar hands: Anastasio 2010: 55; Andrae 1913: 7; Curtis, Reade 1995: 104; Frame 1991; Peltenburg 1968; Preusser 1955: pl. 17; Soldi 2017; Van Buren 1930: 270-272. On sikkatu-nails: Anastasio 2010: 55; Andrae 1909: 41-44; 1938: 145; Donbaz, Grayson 1984; Loud, Altman 1938: 42; Starr 1937: pl. 39.v. On foundation figures: Rashid 1983. On metal decorations: Hall, Woolley 1927: pl. 6; Moorey 1994: 206; Wright 1985: 337. Architectural elements On walls and masonry techniques: Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘mur’); 1981b: 105-139; Aurenche, Klein, de Chazelles 2011; Bessac, Chapelot, De Filippo et al. 2004: 44-47; BIA 1999; Białowarczuk 2007; Hill, Jacobsen, Delougaz 1990: 38-41 (kisu-wall); Lecomte 1989 (kisu-wall); Lynch 1994; Margueron 1988; Miglus 1999: 14-22; McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: pl. 2 (brick bond); Netzer 1992 (Israel); Nylander 1970: 60 (anathyrosis); Oates, D. 1990; Reich 1992 (Israel); Werner 1994: 153-154. Specifically on masonry bonds: Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘appareil’); Dunham 2001: 294-297; Giuliani 2008: 226-236; Heinrich 1934; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘ashlar’); Mannoni 2005; Sauvage 1998a: 49-58; Sieversten 1998; Woolley 1921: 143-156. Specifically on the principles of load-bearing structures: Aurenche 1981b: 103-105; Giuliani 2008; Morgan, Buckle 1968. On wall foundations: Dinsmoor 1950: 387 (for comparisons with foundations in Greek architecture); Dunham 1980; 1986; Ellis, R.S. 1968 (foundation deposits); Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘foundation’); Loud, Altman 1938: 18; Rashid 1983 (figurines in foundations); Thureau-Dangin, Barrois, Dossin et al. 1931: 49-50; Werner 1994: 155. On arches, vaults, domes: Alwan 1979; Andrae 1909: 49; Aurenche 1977 (s.v. ‘arc’); Besenval 1984; BIA 1995; Boyd 1978 (for comparisons with Greek architecture); Cros 1910: 273-274 (Port du diable); Dalley 2017; de Genouillac 1934: 71-72 (Port du diable); Gasche, Birschmeier 1981; Heinrich 1957-1971; Jordan 1969: 37 (Uruk); Koldewey 1913: 90-100; Kubba 1987: 147-148; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘arch’ and ‘vault’); Mallowan, Rose 1935: 31-34; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘arches’); Novák, Schmid 2001; Oates, D. 1973; Reade 1968: 255; Sauvage 1998a: 64; Schwartz, Curvers 1992: 406407; Starr 1937: pl. 43; Trautz 1998: 89-98; Tunca, Rutten 2009 (corbelled vaults); Van Beek 1987; 1997; Woolley 1934: 228-237; 1965: pls. 49-51; 1974 (several examples); 1976: 35-38. On pillars and columns: Andrae 1938: 106, pl. 26 (basalt pillars at Ashur); Aurenche 1981b: 139; Betancourt 1977 (Aeolic style); Collon 1969; Koldewey 1918: 10; Hall, Woolley 1927: pls. 34.2, 35; Kubba 1987: 148-149; Margueron 2011; Miglus 2006-2008b; Oates, D. 1967; 1990; Oppenheim, M.Fr. 1933; Sauvage 1998a: 67-69; Schmidt, K. 2010; Werner 1994: 165-167. On openings (doors, gates, windows): Aurenche 1981b: 167-180; Birch 1880 (Balawat Gates); Curtis, Tallis 2008 (Balawat Gates); Damerji 1987; Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pls. 67-69; Heimpel 1996 (Gates of Eninnu); King 1815 (Balawat Gates); Koldewey 1918 (Ishtar Gate); Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘window’); Loud, Altman 1938: 26 (Dur-Sharrukin); May 2014; Miglus 1999: 18-19; Parrot 1958a, in particular figs. 87-88, 322-323, and pls. 23-24; Salonen 1961; Unger 1913 (Balawat Gates); Tucker 1994 (Balawat Gates); Werner 1994: 171. Specifically on door closing systems: Ferioli, Fiandra 2007; Kubba 1987: 150-151; Leichty 1987; Potts 1990; Scurlock 1988. On staircases: Aurenche 1981b: 210; Cros 1910: 95 (double escalier); Frankfort, Lloyd, Jacobsen 1940: 33, 45; Krafeld-Daugherty 1994: 84-89; Loud, Altman 1938: 27; Mallowan 1966: fig. 348; 149

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McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: pls. 49, 79; Miglus 1999: 21; Oates, D. 1969; 1973; Safar, Mustafa, Lloyd 1981: fig. 33; Sauvage 1998a: 64-67; Werner 1994: 173-174; Woolley 1974: 18-19; 1976: pl. 36b. On domestic and urban structures for water management: Andrae 1909: 19, 36; 1938: 22; Aurenche 1981b: 239-240; Bagg 2006b (cisterns in Transjordan); Cros 1910: 105, 107-108; De Feo, Antoniou, Fardin et al. 2009; Delougaz 1940: 120, 124-125; de Genouillac 1936: pls. 22-23, 75b; Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pls. 41-42; Forbes 1965; Frankfort, Lloyd, Jacobsen 1940: 62; George 2015; Hemker 1993; Hilprecht 1903b: 47 (gutters); Loud 1936: 20; Loud, Altman 1938: 27; Mallowan 1966: fig. 348; Mays, Antoniou, Angelakis 2013; McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: pl. 69b; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘cisterns’ and ‘hydraulics’); Niewenhuyse, Nilham 2010; Safar, Mustafa, Lloyd 1981: fig. 157b; Pucci 2010; Starr 1937: pls. 14, 96-97; Strommenger 1980: 46, fig. 28; Wilkinson 2010. On pavements, ceilings, roofs: Andrae 1909: 76; Aurenche 1981b: 157-160; Delougaz 1940: figs. 121-122; Krafeld-Daugherty 1994: 166-173; Kubba 1987: 145-146; Loud, Altman 1938: 20, 22-23, 48; Miglus 1999: 17-18, 19-21; Moorey 1994: 355; Sauvage 2011a; 2016b; Woolley 1934: 228-237 (roofing); Werner 1994: 167-170. Specifically on mosaics: Akkermans, Schwartz 2003: 382-383; Blaylock 1998; Bowersock 2006; Bunnens 2016; Muller, V. 1939; Salzmann 1982; Thureau-Dangin, Barrois, Dossin et al. 1931: 89; Thureau-Dangin, Dunand 1936: pl. 42. Building types There is a vast body of literature on architectural types. Herewith a selected list is given, focused on those titles that are particularly concerned with building techniques and materials. On the relationship between building form and function, as well as between private and public architecture: Aurenche 1981b: 185, 285-291; 1992; Battini 2010; Bernbeck 1997; Binford 1977; Buccellati, Hageneuer, van der Heyden, S. et al. 2019; Crawford 1982; Deblauwe 1994; Gramsch 2000; Hodder 2001; Hunter-Anderson 1995; Killick, Roaf 1979; Kubba 1987: 131; Margueron 1987; Meyers 1997 (s.v. “public buildings”); Molist 1998; Renfrew, Bahn 1991; Roaf 1984; Sieversten 2002; Stone 1981; Trebsche 2009; Tunca 1990; Whitley 1998. On ziggurats and temples: André-Salvini 2013; Benati 2013; Boda, Novotny 2010; Calvet 1984; Charpin 2011; Delougaz 1940; Delougaz, Lloyd 1942; Forest 1999; George 1993; Hall, Woolley 1927; Heinrich 1982; Hrouda 1970; 1993; Hurowitz 1992; Kai, Leihnert, Miller et al. 2013; Koldewey 1913: 179-193; Ławecka 2011; Lenzen 1954; Mallowan 1966; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘temples’); Orthmann 2002; Pfälzner 2008; Reade 2002; Roaf 1995; Schmidt, K. 1998; Sollberger 1975; Tunca 1984; van Ess 2013a; van Ess, Neef 2013; Werner 1994; Wightman 2007; Wright 1985: 139-142. Specifically on ziggurats: Allinger-Csollich 1998; Andrae 1932; 1938: 88-94; Busink 1949; Dombart 1930; George 2008; Ghirshman 1966; Gullini 1985; Hilprecht 1903a: 185186; Jakob-Rost 1984; Keetman 2011 (the tablet discussed in Wisemann 1972 reconsidered); Klengel-Brandt 1982; Leick 1988 (s.v. ‘ziggurat’); Lenzen 1941; Margueron 1991: 129-134 (vol. II); Martiny 1938; Moberg 1931; Miglus 2013; Oelsner 1984; Parrot 1949; Roaf 1990: 104-105; Sauvage 1998b; Schmid 1995; Unger 1931: 191-200; van Ess 2001; Vicari, Bruschweiler 1985; Wiseman 1972; Woolley 1939.

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On the palaces: Buccellati 2019; Durand 1987; Heinrich 1984; Henrickson 1982; Kertai 2015; 2019; Kertai, Miglus 2013; Khalesi 1978; Koldewey 1913: 65-119; 1931; 1932; Loud 1936; Loud, Altman 1938; Mallowan 1966; Margueron 1982; Margueron 2019; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘palace’); Miglus 2004; Pfälzner 2019; Postgate 2004; Preusser 1955; Reade 2008; Roaf 1995; Sallaberger 2007b; Tamm 2019; Turner 1970; Winter 1993. Specifically on the bit hilani: Borker-Klan 1980; Eraslan 2014; Frankfort 1952; Kertai 2017; Novák 2004. On fortifications: Andrae 1909: 49; 1938: 61-68, 96-98, 158; Aurenche 1981b: 146; Battini 1996; 2003a; 2003b; Breniquet 1991; Burke 2008 (focused on the Levant); Cros 1910: 307; Fujii 1981; Keeley, Fontana, Quick 2007; Heil 2011 (round buildings); Koldewey 1913: 1-6, 32-39, 148-153; Kühne, Steuerwald 1979; Loud 1936: 1-10 (gates); Loud, Altman 1938: 18, 21, 54; Mallowan 1966: 457; Margueron 2008a; Marzahan 1995; Mazar 1995; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘fortifications’); Mielke 2011a; 2011b; Muth, Schneider, Schnelle 2016; Nissen 1972; Otto 2008; Parker 1997; Pickworth 2005; Renette 2010 (round buildings); Rey 2012; Ristvet 2007; Tracy 2000; Wailly, Soof 1965; Wetzel 1930; Wilson 2012: 33 (possible ditch or moat); Woolley 1974: 61-74; Wolf-Meyer 2006; Yadin 1963; Youkana 1997. On houses: Algaze 1983-1984; Aurenche 1981b; Battini 2006; 2009; 2010; Battini Villard 1999; Brusasco 1999-2000; Buccellati, Helms, Tamm 2014; Castel, Maqdissi, Villeneuve 1997; Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967; Gelb 1979; Heinrich 1939; 1972-1975; Henrickson 1981; Hunter, Anderson 1977; Huot 1994; Jahn 2005; Kohlmeyer 1996; Krafeld-Daugherty 1994; Kubba 1987: 61-62; Mallowan 1966: 184; Mallowan, Rose 1935 (Halaf tholoi); Margueron 1991: 41-68 (vol. I); 1996; 2007; 2008b; Mariani 1984; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘house’); Michel 2015; Miglus 1999; Novák 1999: 299-301; Pfälzner 2001; Preusser 1954; Rapoport 1969; Rainville 2005; Sicker-Akman 1999; Veenhof 1996; Villard 2006; Woolley 1965: 75-83; 1976: 12-38. Specifically on storage sites and workplaces: Aurenche 1981b: 217-218, 257-261; Martin 1988: 42-47, 1982, 2005a; Mas, Notizia 2020; 2019; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘silos’); Pfalzner 2002; 2008; Sicker-Akman 2007; Van der Stede 2010. On ovens and kilns: Aurenche 1981b: 216, 246-255; Crawford 1981; 1983; Delcroix, Huot 1972; Delougaz 1940: fig. 120; Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: 155; Frankfort, Lloyd, Jacobsen 1940: 9; Hansen Streily 2000; Krafeld-Daugherty 1994: 20-63; McCown, Haines, Biggs et al. 1978: 16; Miglus 2003-2005. On roads and streets: Adam 1994; Andrae 1938: 20; 1941; Astour 1995; Cole 1954; Goetze 1964; Graslin-Thome 2009; Häberli, Scheidegger 1994a; Hallo 1964; Kubba 1987: 59; Lambert 1957; Lewy 1952; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘roads’); Miglus 2006-2008a; 2012; Novák 1999; 287-298; Steinert 2012; Wilkinson 2003: 60; Zaccagnini 1976a: 429. More specifically on transports and vehicles: Bollweg 1999; De Graeve 1981; Fales 1976a; Forbes 1965; Littauer, Crouwel 1979; Margueron 1991: 144-151, 191-200 (vol. I); Piggot 1992; Salonen 1939; 1951; 1956; Weszeli 2009. On bridges: Bagg 2011b; Cole 1954; King 1815: pls. 60-62; Koldewey 1913: 193-195; Margueron 2005b; Moorey 1994: 341; Roaf 1995: 349; Tuleshkov 2017; Wetzel 1930: 54, 77-78, pl. 51. On gardens and orchards: Andrae 1938: 37-40; 1952; Besnier 2017; Biga, Ramazzotti 2007; Civil 1962; Ebeling 1957-1971; Glassner 1991; Kühne 2006; Marcais 1960; Meyers 1997 (s.v. ‘gardens’); Moortgat-Correns 1999; Novák 2004; Oppenheim, A.L. 1965; Wiseman 1983; 1984. Specifically on the ‘Hanging Gardens’: Alwan 1979; Dalley 1993; 2013; Dalley, Oleson 2003; Damerji 1981; Nagel 1979; Reade 2000; Stevenson 1992.

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189

Chronological table All dates are approximate. Especially in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, there were some differences in the periodisation between north and south, that are uniformed by approximation in the present table. The main historical periods from the 3rd millennium BC till the Achaemenid empire, labelled in accordance with the greatest regional powers, overlap to a certain extent. See Brinkman 1964, Brisch 2013, MET-TOAH 2000, Pruss 2004, Pruzsinszky 2009, Roaf 1990, especially pp. 8-9, for more detailed overviews on Mesopotamian chronology. Ages

Periods

Absolute chronology

Pottery Neolithic

7000-6000 BC

Neolithic

Pre-Pottery Neolithic

Chalcolithic

Hassuna, Samarra, Halaf, al-Ubaid cultures

Early Bronze Age

Protoliterate period

Early Dynastic period (Sumerian period) Akkadian empire

Guti interregnum

Middle Bronze Age

Late Bronze Age

Iron Age

Neo-Sumerian period (Third dynasty of Ur) Isin-Larsa period

Old-Assyrian period

Old-Babylonian period (Amorite dynasty) Mittani period (Hurrians)

Middle-Babylonian period (Kassite dynasty) Middle-Assyrian period Neo-Assyrian period

Neo-Babylonian period Archaemenian empire

190

10,500-7000 BC 6000-4000 BC

4000-2900 BC 2900-2350 BC 2350-2150 BC 2150-2100 BC 2100-2004 BC 2004-1595 BC 1950-1365 BC 1850-1595 BC 1600-1360 BC 1595-1150 BC 1365-900 BC 900-612 BC 625-539 BC 550-333 BC

Glossary and analytical index Abutment (pages 67, 114). A solid element (*pier, *wall) that supports an *arch, a *vault or a *bridge and enables the structure’s load to be transmitted to the *foundations. Adobe (page 26). A Spanish loanword from Arabic, actually synonym for *sun-dried brick. Air change (page 76). The replacement of air within a closed space, normally taking new air from outside. Air-seasoning (page 42). The process of drying *timbers before they are used for building. Alabaster (page 35). A fine-grained and translucent variety of *gypsum. In archaeological literature this term is frequently used to indicate what is actually a calcite. Alloy (pages 44, 57-58). Any metal that is not 100% pure is considered an alloy, i.e. a mixture of two or more elements, that can be at least in part non-metal. Anathyrosis (page 67). Literally, the finished and levelled margin along the perimeter of the outer surface of a *stone, whose central part remains unfinished. This term may also be used to describe the whole technique for producing such an effect (see also *rustication). Aqueduct (pages 67, 115-117). A construction used for carrying flowing water across land. Aquifer (pages 88, 116). A stratum of permeable *rock, *sand, or *gravel, through which water flows. Arch (pages 59-60, 67-72). A curved architectural load-bearing element that spans an opening. Arch centre, see Centring Archimedes’ screw (pages 22-23). A cylindrical shaft with helical external surface inside a hollow pipe. It was positioned obliquely and could be turned by windmill, manual labour, or animal. Architrave (pages 59, 74). Term used mainly in Classical architecture to describe the lowest part of the entablature, below the frieze and cornice. Broadly speaking, it is the *lintel resting on the capitals of the *columns. The term is also used to indicate a complete moulded frame of a *window or a *door. Ashlar (pages 65-66). A type of *masonry made of squared *stones, so that all surfaces of contact between the stones are regular and adherent to each other. The term can be used also to indicate the individual stones of the masonry. Asphalt (pages 40-41). A building material composed of *bitumen, *limestone, *sand and *clay. Axis (page 97). In a building plan, it is the straight line that bisects symmetrically a delimited space. Babanu (page 101). Akkadian term frequently used for designating the public sector in an Assyrian palace. Baghdir (pages 120-121). A particular type of *pavilion represented in Assyrian reliefs, built with a wooden skeleton, held steady by tie rods, to which mats and canvasses are attached. 191

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Barrel vault (pages 71-72). The simplest type of *vault, consisting of a series of round *arches placed side by side. Beam (pages 44, 56, 68, 77, 88, 107). A long and heavy element, usually a *timber, used in construction. Bent-axis temple (page 97). A *temple in which the main entrance is on one of the long *walls, and a platform normally erected at the opposite end. Binder (pages 33, 46, 49, 60, 65). Any substance used to make other materials stick or mix together. Bit-hilani (pages 101-102). Akkadian term that means ‘house of pillars’ and designates a type of Iron Age *palace, characterised by a monumental entrance through a columned *portico, that can be approached by a broad flight of steps. Bitanu (page 101). Akkadian term frequently used for designating the private sector of an Assyrian palace. Bitumen (pages 40-41, 49, 56, 64, 77, 82, 84, 87, 113, 117). A viscous liquid or semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum, used in construction for its adhesive and waterproofing qualities. Bond (pages 30, 32, 62-63, 65, 138). In a *wall, it is the way in which the courses of *bricks or *stones are laid. Bondstone (page 61). A *stone that extends horizontally from the inner to the outer face of a *wall. Brick (pages 4-5, 18, 28-34, 38, 44-46, 49, 59-65). A regular piece of *clay, usually tempered with other materials, used in construction. Depending on the type of manufacture, it can be described as *sun-dried, *half-fired and *fired brick. Bricklayer (page 32). A specialised worker able to lay *bricks (and *stones) to line and level. Bridge (pages 113-114). An architectural structure that spans a gap, either on a ground depression or water surface. Building archaeology (pages 1-3, 124-125). The discipline dealing with the registration and analysis of all the building materials and techniques involved in the assembly and erection of structures. Burnt lime, see Quicklime Burnt brick, see Fired brick Buttress (pages 18, 50-52, 77, 93, 97, 103, 116). Any structure built against a *wall to support it. Camber arch (pages 68-69). An *arch with a very small rise, almost flat, such as a *jack arch. Canal (pages 10, 114-116). Any artificial waterway built for water-power, irrigation, navigation. Capital (pages 72, 74, 76). The uppermost part of a *pilaster or *column, taking the load of the entablature. Catenary Arch (page 69). An arch whose shape is that of an overturned catenary curve. It is similar but not equal to a *parabolic arch. 192

Glossary and analytical index

Ceiling (pages 44, 88). The uppermost interior lining in a covered space. Cella (pages 19, 92, 97). In ancient *temples, it was the inner and generally hidden room that housed the simulacrum of the deity (cf. Greek naòs). Cement (page 64). A powder of various *mineral substances burned together and pulverised, used as a *binder in modern *concrete and *mortar. Centring (pages 68, 71). A temporary work used for giving support during the erection of an *arch or a *vault. Chaînage (pages 44, 64). A French term commonly used to indicate the technique consisting of the insertion of layers of *reeds to separate the courses of *bricks. Channel (pages 10, 82, 84-85, 106, 115-116, 118). Any artificial element with a U- or V-shaped cross section, generally used to convey water. Chimney (page 111). The structure containing the vertical *flue of an *oven or a *kiln. Chisel (pages 36-37, 66). A long-bladed hand tool with a cutting edge, used to work *wood, *stone and *metal. Cist burial (page 121). A small coffin-like box, built in *stone or *bricks, used to hold the remains of the dead. Cistern (pages 81-82). A waterproof tank used to store water. In antiquity it was usually built underground. City wall, see Enceinte Cladding (page 45). The external and non-load bearing skin of a building. Clay (pages 26-30). An earthen material that becomes hard when fired. In earth architecture, it is the basic material for making *bricks, *tiles, ducts, decorations, etc. Clay bottles (pages 52-53). Forms of hollow *pipes inserted into the *wall, so as to leave their empty section visible on the wall’s surface. Clay cones, see Mosaic cones Cob (page 28). A building material consisting of a manufactured mixture of *clay and *straw. Column (pages 72-76, 102, 108, 123, 125). A vertical architectural element, usually circular in section, that can be made of different materials (*stone, *wood, *bricks…). Compressive stress (pages 59). The *stress that deforms a material so that its volume decreases. Concrete (pages 38-39, 73, 122). Modern building material, made of *cement and *mineral *aggregates. Construction site, see Worksite Corbel (pages 55-56, 59-60, 121-122). The part of a brick-, stone- or timberwork that projects outwards from a *wall surface. Corbel-arch (page 59). An arch-like structure in which successive courses of *bricks or *stones offset at the opposite spring-lines of the *walls and meet at the centre.

193

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Cubit (page 15). An ancient unit of length, i.e. the average length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Dado (page 85). The lower part of a *wall, usually an internal one, finished or decorated in a different way from the rest of the wall. Dam (page 117). Any artificial barrier that retains water, usually to form a water reservoir. Dome (pages 72, 111, 123). A built structure with hemispherical *roof. Door (pages 44, 77-79). A barrier that can be opened or closed to allow or deny access to an enclosed space. Dromos (page 108). Greek term designating a corridor at the entrance of a tomb. Drum (pages 72-73). One of the cylindrical elements that form the *shaft of a *column. Dry masonry (page 65). A *masonry made without *mortar. Dye (page 47). An organic substance, used to colour various materials, such as textiles, leather, *wood, and bone. Earth architecture (pages 26-29, 61). Any building constructed with clay-based materials, such as *tauf/*pisé, *mud-bricks, *cobs. (Earth) pressure (pages 25, 38, 60, 70, 74, 121-122). The pressure exerted by the soil because of gravity. When a sideways pressure is exerted it is called ‘lateral earth pressure’. Embankment (page 117). A sloping structure, generally in compacted earth, used to retain water or support an elevated *road. Enceinte (pages 103-106). A line of *fortifications that encloses a settlement. Extrados (page 68). The outer curved face of an *arch. Façade (pages 13, 52, 67, 74, 141). The external main face of a building. False work, see Centring Fieldstones (page 65). Building *stones that are not shaped in any special way, or only very roughly shaped. Fired brick (pages 28, 30-33, 61, 63, 79, 95-96, 105-106, 114). A *brick that has been fully fired during its manufacture. Flat arch, see Jack arch Fortification (pages 103-106). A large, permanent defensive structure, composed of different elements (*walls, *ramparts, *towers, *turrets...). Foundation (pages 61, 85, 117, 122). The underground support of a raised *wall. Fresco (page 46). The art of applyng *pigments on a dry *plaster. Garden (page 118). A green, open-air area, usually cultivated with ornamental plants and trees. Gate (pages 77-79, 105). A monumental *opening in a *wall.

194

Glossary and analytical index

Glacis (pages 103-104). An artificial slope, made of earth or *stone, at the base of a defensive *wall. Glaze (pages 47-50, 56). In Mesopotamian architecture a thin glossy or lustrous coating applied to decorative *bricks and *tiles. Gradient (pages 114-115). The upward or downward sloping surface of an element. Gravel (page 26). An *aggregate of loose rounded fragments of *rock. Grillage (page 85). A *foundation or *footing made of a framework of *beams, that spreads loads over a large area. Grille (page 76). A grate used for ventilating a closed space. Grits (pages 26, 41). An *aggregate of *mineral (mostly *rock or *sand) granules. Grue (page 46). An English term that indicates the single colour which, in the ancient Near East, includes both green and blue. Gutter (pages 81-82, 84). A narrow *channel used to convey water, usually set at the *roof ’s eaves. Gypsum (pages 35, 38-39, 45-46, 77). A *mineral (calcium sulphate) mainly used in *plasters and *mortars. Half-fired brick (pages 28-29). A *brick that has not been fully fired during its manufacture. Header bond (page 62). The *masonry bond in which the narrowest face-end of a *brick is visible on the surface, but its greatest dimension is contained in the *wall section. Header brick (page 62). A *brick with its narrowest face-end exposed in the *wall’s surface. Herringbone bond (pages 32, 62-63). A *masonry bond in which *bricks are placed diagonally in courses, and placed at right angles to the *bricks of the upper and lower courses. It was often used for laying *plano-convex bricks in the Early Dynastic period. Hydrated lime, see Slaked lime Igneous rock (page 35). A *rock derived from the solidification of molten magma. Impost (page 68). The support from which an *arch springs. In antis temple (page 97). A type of *temple, characterised by the *walls of the long sides protruding on one or two of the short sides to form a sort of *portico. Inclined plane (page 21). One of the *simple machines. It consists of a flat surface that makes an oblique angle with ground level and is used for raising or lowering loads. Infrastructure (pages 10, 16, 81, 113-115). Any large building structure that serves the economic activity of a defined region. This category includes main public buildings, *roads, *aqueducts, to mention the main ones. Inlay (page 73). The act of decorating the surface of an object or a structure by inserting different materials into pre-made indentations.

195

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Ishtar clay hands (pages 55-56). Assyrian miniature *corbels shaped as animal paws, with the claws aligned and well detailed at the end that remained visible, while the stem was inserted into the *wall. Jack arch (pages 59-60). Actually an arch-like structure, because of its horizontal upper and lower surfaces. It consists of a series of *bricks or *stones that lean out horizontally from the central *key-stone and spans an *opening. Jamb (page 73). The vertical element of a *window or *door adjacent to the *wall. Key-stone (page 68). The wedge-shaped *stone (or *brick) placed at the apex of an *arch. Kiln (pages 29-31, 40, 111-113). A type of *oven dedicated to dry, burn, fire special kinds of materials, such as pottery, *bricks, etc. Kisu-wall (page 63). Kisu is an Akkadian term used for indicating a typical Early Dynastic wall construction technique, involving building an external coating of *fired bricks to protect a wall made of *sun-dried bricks. Ladder (pages 18, 21, 79). A movable structure, usually in *wood, for climbing up or down, made with two vertical sidepieces in which horizontal rungs are encased. Lamassu (pages 38, 50-51). In Assyrian architecture, this Akkadian term designates a stone, human-headed, winged lion. Generally, two lamassu stood at the entrance of a *gate, so that they were not only decorative sculptures but also *imposts for the*arch of the *gate. Lateral earth pressure, see Earth pressure Lavatory (pages 84-85). A room in which a *toilet, urinal, or closet is installed. Lever (pages 21, 38). One of the *simple machines. It consists of a bar that pivots about a fixed point. Lime (pages 35, 38-39, 45-46, 85, 107, 144). A *mineral (calcium carbonate) used in *mortar and *plaster, usually together with *sand. Lintel (page 59, 79). A horizontal, load-bearing beam that spans an *opening. Load-bearing wall (pages 29, 31-32, 38, 59, 63, 67). A *wall that actually bears load and therefore supports the other non-load bearing components of the structure. Lock (page 77). A device inserted or applied to a *door or *window to allow its closure. Lumber, see Timber Macadam (page 113). A mixture of *tar and other *aggregates invented in 1869 by J.L. McAdam and used to pave *roads. Marble (pages 35, 37, 45). A *metamorphic rock formed by carbonate minerals. Marl (pages 38, 73). A natural mixture of *clay and *lime. Mason (pages 65, 67). A skilled worker who builds using stones or bricks. Masonry (3-4, 38, 44, 49-52, 60-67, 82, 107, 116). A construction made by a *mason. Masonry types are usually classified according to their brick- and stone *bonds. Megaron, see In antis temple 196

Glossary and analytical index

Mensiochronology (pages 4, 144). A dating method based on the statistical analysis of *brick size. Merlon (page 105). In a fortified *wall, it is the upper part of the parapet, in which a series of crenellations and embrasures allow defenders to view and shoot at attackers. Metal (pages 44, 45, 57-58, 111, 113). A hard and lustrous *mineral that conducts electricity and heat and is relatively malleable and/or ductile. Metamorphic stone (page 35). A *rock that has naturally been transformed from the effects of great pressure or heat. Metrology (page 15). The study of the systems of weights and measures. Mineral (pages 26, 28, 34-35, 47). Any inorganic and homogeneous material, such as *stone, coal, *sand, water, gas, that can be extracted from the ground. Moat (pages 104-105). A *ditch that surrounds a settlement or *fortress. It may or not be filled with water. Monolith (page 72). A single large *stone, usually shaped as a *column, *pillar, or obelisk. Mortar (pages 38-40). A material used to bond *bricks or *stones together in *masonry. Mosaic (pages 52-53, 87). A decorative surface, usually on a *pavement or a *wall, made of small, inserted coloured cubes (*tesserae). Mosaic cones (pages 52-53). Conical, solid cones in *clay or *stone, inserted in *walls, *columns, *buttresses, with only their flat ends left visible on the surface. Mosul marble (page 35). Actually a type of *alabaster. It was the material of choice for Assyrian sculpture. Mould (pages 18, 26, 29-31, 33-34, 39). A tool used for giving a particular shape and consistent size to objects, e.g. clay *bricks. Moulded brick (pages 33, 64). A *brick made with the use of a *mould. This term may also indicate a brick shaped to a special form (‘special brick’). Mud (pages 18, 39-41, 45-46, 65, 72, 88, 103, 107, 122). Wet, sticky soil, i.e. the basic element of *earth architecture. Mudhif (pages 44, 93). A traditional building entirely made of *reeds, typical in the wetlands of southern Iraq. Niche (page 103). A *recess in a *wall, usually intended for containing a decorative object. Non-load-bearing wall (page 59). A *wall that does not bear any load of the structure, and simply provides a *partition between *rooms. Opening (pages 2, 67, 76-79, 88, 107-109, 127). Any gap in a *wall, *roof, or *floor. In a wall, it generally contains a *door or a *window. Orchard (page 118). An intentional planting of fruit trees. It may also have an aesthetic purpose.

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Orthostat (pages 50-51). A squared *stone, usually set into the lower portion of a *wall. It may or not be decorated, generally with a relief. Oven (pages 65, 108, 111). A structure used to dry, burn, or fire objects or substances. Paint(ing) (pages 45-47, 50). The technique of applying a thin, liquid coating to a surface, with decorative purpose. Palace (pages 92-93, 97-103). The building in which a king, or other high-ranking dignitary, resides and/or exercises power. Parabolic Arch (page 69). An arch shaped as a parabola, in which the internal compression follows a parabolic curve. It is similar but not equal to the *catenary arch. Partition (wall) (pages 107-108, 128). An interior, *non-load-bearing wall, used to separate a space from another. Patzen (page 31). Rectangular *mud-brick, typical of the E-anna levels V-III at Uruk. Pavement (pages 85-87). A solid, flat surface to allow the passage of pedestrians, animals and vehicles. Pavilion (page 120). A portable structure used for shelter, or public events, and usually erected in an open space. Pebble (page 87). A small *stone rounded by the effect of a natural agent (water, *sand, wind…). Perpend (stone) see Bondstone Piazza (page 105). An artificial open space, usually in an urban context, surrounded by buildings and connected to roads. Pier (pages 59, 114). Any vertical structural support. Pigment (pages 46-47). A substance used generally in combination with a binder agent to give a specific colour to coating materials. Pillar (pages 29, 32-33, 38, 44, 72-73, 97, 99, 125, 127, 139). A free-standing vertical *pier, usually in stone. Pipe (pages 23, 45, 82). A cylindrical tube, usually in *clay or *metal. Pisé (pages 26, 29, 107, 122). Term derived from French pisé de terre, i.e. pressed earth. It consists of *clay mixed with different materials (mainly *gravel and *grit) and pressed in *formworks. Pitched vault (page 71). A *vault in which the *bricks are placed vertically and lean (pitched) at an angle. Plano-convex brick (pages 31-32). A large *brick typical of the Early Dynastic period, characterised by an uneven and slightly rounded upper surface. Plaster (35, 39, 45-46, 85, 88, 103, 107, 127-129, 135, 139, 144). A mixture in which there is at least one hardening material (in antiquity this was usually *gypsum, *lime, *sand or other granulated *limestone), and then applied to *walls, *ceilings, and *pavements to make their surfaces smooth and hard. Podium (page 91). A *platform used to raise an object above its surroundings. 198

Glossary and analytical index

Portico (page 97). A covered space, usually at the entrance of a building, with *columns or *pillars on its front. Post-hole (pages 73, 121). A hole in the earth or in a *pavement, dug to take a post. Pre-cast (pages 29-49). A material, object or structure which is prepared and transported, ready to use, to the construction site. Pulley (page 22). A grooved wheel that a rope runs through. Qanat (pages 116-117). A sloping underground *channel that transports water from an *aquifer or *well to the surface for irrigation and drinking. Quarry (pages 30, 36, 38). An open-pit mine where *stones and other *minerals used for building are extracted. Quay (pages 106, 117). A structure parallel to the edge of a port or riverbank, used as a landing place. Quicklime (page 39). The substance (calcium oxide) produced by heating *limestone, used mainly in the preparation of *mortars. Radiocarbon dating (pages 3, 144). A dating method based on the use of radiocarbon, that is a radioactive isotope of carbon. Rammed earth (page 28). A construction technique in which the earth is pressed in a workform. Rampart (pages 103, 105). An *embankment or *wall raised as a *fortification. Recess (pages 18, 50-52, 93). An indentation in a *wall surface. Reeds (pages 44, 51, 61, 64, 77, 85, 88, 93). Wild, tall plants with narrow leaves and slender stems that grow in wetlands. Riemchen (page 31). A *mud-brick with square section, that became most popular in E-anna level IV at Uruk. Rise (page 68). In an *arch, it is the ideal vertical line between the middle of the *key-stone and the *spring-line. Riser (page 81). The vertical face of a ste(pages Road (pages 22, 87, 113). A hard surface, connecting two or more places, used for travel. Rock (pages 34, 36). Any natural solid block or aggregate of *minerals that forms the soil. Roof (pages 44, 88-89, 107, 120-121, 125, 127). The uppermost part of a building, covering and protecting it from weather conditions. Room (pages 2, 81, 85, 91, 93, 97, 109, 134). A partitioned space inside a building. Rubble (stone) masonry (pages 62, 65). Rough masonry made of natural or roughly shaped *stones, set without regular courses. Rustication (pages 66-67). A *masonry technique whereby *stones are levelled and finished on their margins, while their central, protruding parts are roughly finished or not dressed at all (see also *anathyrosis). 199

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Sand (pages 26, 45, 47, 61). A material composed of fine grains of *rocks or *minerals. Screw (pages 22-23, 118). One of the *simple machines, consisting of a cylinder with helical grooves or ridges on its external surface. Screw pump, see Archimedes’ screw Sedimentary rock (pages 35, 40). A rock formed by the accumulation or deposition of sediments. Segmental arch (pages 68-69). An *arch with a circular *intrados less than 180˚. Sewer (pages 68). An underground system of ducts and *pipes for transporting waste and surface water. Shaduf (page 21). An irrigation device that is still commonly used in North Africa and the Near East, based on the principle of the lever. Shaft (pages 72-73). The central part of a *pillar/*column, between the base and the *capital. Sikkatu-nails (pages 56-57). Assyrian clay objects with a variable shape, inserted in the walls and with their ends left exposed. Silo (pages 110-111). A cylindrical container used to store granular material. In antiquity it was mostly built underground. Simple machines (page 21). All those mechanical devices that change the direction or magnitude of a force, and that are the simplest mechanisms, i.e. they cannot be broken down into simpler devices. Slab (pages 50, 55, 74, 113, 127). A flat block of *stone used for paving or covering a *wall. Slaked lime (page 39). The substance (calcium hydroxide) obtained by adding water to *quick lime, and that can be mixed with *sand to form *lime mortar. Sluice (pages 115, 117). A device for regulating a passage for water by means of a *valve or a *gate. Span (pages 59, 67, 77). A space dividing two supports. Special brick, see Moulded brick. Spring line (page 68). In an *arch, it is the ideal horizontal line between the points of intersections between the outermost *voussoirs and the *imposts. Staircase (pages 19, 79-81, 95-96, 99, 102, 106). An architectural element consisting of a set of stairs (steps), linked together, to allow access from one level to another (synonym: stairway). Stone (pages 34-38). A *rock quarried or collected from the ground. The term may also indicate the individual *masonry stone unit (block), dressed or not. Strain (pages 25, 59). This term indicates how much a material has extended when subjected to a tensile force. Straw (pages 26, 28-30, 40-41, 72, 110). All those grain plants that have been cut and dried. Straw-clay (page 28). A mixture of *straw and *clay, in which clay is actually the binding agent, and generally used to infill a wooden frame. 200

Glossary and analytical index

Street (page 113). A public *road, usually within a city, with buildings on one or both sides. Stress (pages 82, 113). In architecture, it is the force exerted per unit area on an element, which tends for this reason to change its shape. Stretcher bond (page 62). A *masonry bond in which the greatest dimension and one edge of the *brick are visible. Stretcher brick (page 62). A *brick with its longest face-end exposed in the *wall surface. Stucco (page 45). A fine *plaster based on *lime, mixed with other materials, which can vary depending on the region and the time (*sand, *marble, *gypsum...); it is used for making a hard covering on *wall surfaces, as well as for realising plastic decoration. Sun-dried brick (pages 26, 28, 30-32, 46, 61, 63, 79, 95, 104-105). A *mud-brick that has been manufactured without being fired. Tauf (page 26). A mixture of *clay, straw, and/or other mineral binding agent (e.g. *sand), shaped by hand without *moulds or formworks, and used for realising the desired structure by means of simple horizontal rows of material. Temenos (pages 95, 121). Term derived from the Greek témenos, indicating a religious area delimited by a precinct, with access restricted to selected individuals and dedicated to one or more deities. Tempera (pages 46-47). A technique for mural *painting, in which colours are added by the application of *pigments bound with an emulsion and applied on a dry surface. Temple (pages 19, 57-58, 91-97). Any building used for the worship of one or more deities. Tensile stress (page 59). A *stress that tends to stretch or lengthen the material. Terrace (pages 93-97, 118). A raised and levelled area that acts as a platform. Thermoluminescence (pages 3-4, 144). A dating method based on the measurement of accumulated radiation dose in an object. Tholos (pages 108-109). A *house typical of the Halaf period, with a circular plan that may or not have a corridor at the entrance. Threshold (pages 38, 77, 87). The horizontal base element of an external *door. Tile (page 47). A thin element, usually of *clay or *stone, used to coat *floors, *roofs and *walls. Timber (pages 41-42, 88). *Wood that has been processed to be suitable for building purposes. Timber preparation (page 42). The series of processes used to transform trees into *timber, ready for use (felling of trees, conversion of logs into boards, seasoning of green boards into dry *timber, ready for use). Toilet (pages 84-85). A fixed item in a building structure used for urination and defecation. Usually in the form of a water-flushed bowl with a seat, attached to a *pipe. Tomb (pages 121-122). An artificial burial grave or chamber. Torchis, see Wattle-and-daub Tower (pages 2, 7, 103). A tall structure higher than the adjacent *walls. 201

Trilithon (page 59). A structure consisting of two large vertical *stones (posts) supporting a third one set horizontally across the top (*lintel). Trunk (page 21). The main stem of a tree. Truss (page 88). A rigid structure made from *beams, where force is applied to only two points. Tube (page 23). Any cylindrical object used to pass liquids through. Turret (page 103). A small *tower, usually circular in plan. Valve (page 117). A mechanical device for starting, stopping or regulating the flow of a gas or a liquid in a conduit. Vault (pages 70-72, 122). An arched *masonry structure. Voussoir (page 69). A wedged or V-shaped *brick or *stone used to form the curved part of an *arch. Voussoir arch (page 69). An *arch made of *voussoirs. Wall (45-46, 50-51, 59-67, 103-105, 122). A basic architectural element, erected vertically, and used to delimitate a space. Wall flower (pages 53-55). Objects similar to *clay cones in function, but made from stone pieces of different colour to form a petal pattern, reminiscent of flowers, at their ends. Wall plaque (pages 55). Stone or clay objects, usually bearing reliefs, suspended from the walls and not touching the ground, and with dimensions generally smaller than *orthostates. Water hole (page 11). A depression in the ground that collects water. Wattle-and-daub (pages 26, 63). Term used to indicate the technique of applying to a wooden ‘wattle’ a ‘daub’ of tempered *clay, for walling, etc. It corresponds to the French torchis. Wedge (page 21). One of the *simple machines. A piece of hard material (usually *wood in antiquity), tapered at one end and used to separate or split two objects. Weir (page 115). A *dam built across a river to regulate its water flow. Well (pages 81-82). A hole dug into the ground to extract water, oil, gas from underground deposits. Wheel (pages 21-22). One of the *simple machines. It is a solid round object that turns when it moves. Wheeper holes (pages 63, 84, 97). Rectangular holes in the brickwork, arranged in regular intervals, that are visible on the surface and go deep inside the core of the structure. Wind catcher, see Baghdir Window (pages 44, 68, 76-77, 88, 127-128). An *opening on a *wall, that allows daylight to light the space inside the walls. Window frame (page 44). The set of elements that constitute the perimeter of a *window. Wood (pages 22, 25, 29, 41-44, 59, 61, 73-74, 77, 79, 85, 88). The hard, fibrous material of which tree *trunks and branches are made. 202

Illustration credits

Workability (page 29). The degree to which a material such as *clay, *stone, or *metal, is amenable and can be worked and shaped into new forms. Workshop (page 112). A small establishment where manufacturing or handicrafts is/are undertaken. Worksite (pages 20, 30, 37-39, 141). The area on which construction works are being carried out. Sometimes also called ‘building site’. It corresponds to the French/German/Italian chantier/Baustelle/cantiere. Ziggurat (pages 19, 63-64, 79, 93-97). An Akkadian term used to describe a typical Mesopotamian religious building in the form of a monumental, terraced structure characterised by successively receding levels.

Illustration credits Because of the informative and handbook-like character of this essay, images available in public domain have been used as much as possible, so as to allow the reader to easily access them from the online resources. All URLs were last visited on December 2019. Furthermore, many colleagues and institutions kindly provided images to be freely reproduced in the volume, and I take this opportunity of thanking them most sincerely. Below is the complete reference list of credits of illustrations featured. 1 (map): elaboration by the author; 2 (cylinder seal): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 3a (Uruk trough): Frankfort 1951: fig. 5; 3b (reed hut): Dougherty 1927: fig. 62; 4 (temple façade on a vessel): Wikimedia Commons, license CC0; 5 (city wall on the Balawat Gates): The New York Public Library Digital Collections, public domain; 6 (cult vessel): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 7 (calotype by V. Tranchard): Wikimedia Commons, public domain; 8a (Ur ziggurat in 1936): Anastasio 2019: fig. 104, courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana, Firenze; 8b (Ur ziggurat in 2006): Wikimedia Commons, public domain; 9 (clay tablet with a map): courtesy of The Schøyen Collection, Oslo and London; 10 (plan of Shadappum): elaboration by the author based on Baqir 1959: fig. 1; 11 (the Nuzi Map): elaboration by the author based on BASOR 1931: 8; 12 (the Nippur map): elaboration by the author based on Hillprecht 1903a: 518; 13 (the Nippur cubit): Wikimedia Commons, license CC BY-SA 4.0, by Aeroid, modified; 14 (clay tablet with an exercise of geometry): Basmachi 1976: 144; 15 (clay tablet with agronomic measurements): Liverani 1990: fig. 1; courtesy of Mario Liverani; 16 (statue ‘Architect with plans’): Wikimedia Commons, public domain, by Tangopaso; 17 (stone slab with relief): Wikimedia Commons, license CC-BY 2.5, by Marie-Lan Nguyen; 18 (Ur-Nammu stele): courtesy of the Penn Museum; 19a-b (ziggurat and temple on clay tablets): Wiseman 1972: figs. 1 and 4, courtesy of The British Institute at Ankara; 20 (houseplans on a clay tablet): elaboration by the author based on Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pl. 65; 21 (simple machines): elaboration by the author; 22 (transportation of a lamassu): drawing based on the original work by F.C. Cooper, published in Layard 1853b: pl. 12; 23 (chariot with solid wheels): Wikimedia Commons, public domain; 24 (chariot with spoked wheels): Birch 1880; The New York Public Library Digital Collections, public domain; 25 (helical screw profile): Kepinski-Lecomte 1992: pl. 22.5, courtesy of Christine Kepinski; 26 (cut, compression and tension on stone): elaboration by the author based on Filippi Moretti 1981: figs. 1-3; 27 (pisé): 203

Building between the Two Rivers

courtesy of Arquivo Ordem dos Arquitectos – IARP/OAPIX; 28 (adobe): Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, public domain; 29 (wattle and daub): Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, public domain; 30 (cob): Quagliarini, Stazi, Pasqualini et al. 2010: fig. 4, courtesy of Enrico Quagliarini; 31 (plano-convex bricks): elaboration by the author, based on Delougaz 1933: fig. 23; 32a (moulded bricks used in columns): Wikimedia Commons, public domain, by Marie-Lan Nguyen; 32b (Innin Temple): Wikimedia Commons, license CC BY-SA 4.0, by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin; 33 (marks on mud-bricks): elaboration by the author, based on Banks 1912: 340; 34 (brick with cuneiform inscription): courtesy of MiBACTPolo Museale della Toscana, Firenze; 35 (examples of stone finishes): courtesy of Museo dei Picasass, Viggiù, Italy; 36 (bitumen deposits): elaboration by the author based on Connan, Evershed, Biek et al. 1999: fig. 1; 37 (bitumen used as a mortar): Wikimedia Common, license CC BY-SA 3.0, by Kaufingdude; 38 (transport of wooden trunks on an Assyrian relief): Wikimedia Commons, public domain, by Marie-Lan Nguyen; 39 (lumberjacks on an Assyrian relief): Layard 1853a: pl. 76; The New York Public Library Digital Collections, public domain; 40 (Investiture of Zimri-Lim): Wikimedia Commons, public domain, by Marie-Lan Nguyen; 41 (glazed mudbrick): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 42 (glazed lion): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 43 (glazed brick panel): Koldewey 1913: figs. 6465; 44 (Assyrian relief panel): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 45 (lamassu): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 46 (buttresses and recesses): Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, public domain; 47 (relief representing a building façade): Heinrich 1937: pl. 48l; 48 (columns decorated with clay-cones): Wikimedia Commons, license CC BY-SA 2.5, author unknown; 49 (clay cones): courtesy of the Penn Museum; 50 (wall flower): courtesy of the Penn Museum; 51 (decorated Assyrian knob-plate): Andrae 1923: pl. 31; 52 (miniature corbel): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 53 (sikkatu-nail): courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana, Firenze; 54 (Assyrian wall cones): elaboration by the author based on Andrae 1923: fig. 187; 55 (inscribed clay cone): courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana, Firenze; 56 (Imdugud relief): Hall, Woolley 1927: pl. 6; 57 (foundation peg): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 58a-d (trilithon and arch systems): elaboration by the author based on Filippi Moretti 1981: figs. 2830; 59 (wall components): elaboration by the author; 60a-b (brick facing and bonds): elaboration by the author; 61a-d (masonry bonds): elaborations by the author based on Frankfort, Jacobsen, Preusser 1932: 62 (a), Woolley 1965: pl. 49 (b), Woolley 1921: fig. 55 (c), Place, Thomas 18671870: pl. 35.4 (d); 62a-b (drainage holes): Anastasio 2019: figs. 228-229, courtesy of MiBACTPolo Museale della Toscana, Firenze; 63 (layers of reeds used for construction): Jordan 1930: fig. 9; 64 (rustication technique): elaboration by the author based on Bessac, Chapelot, De Filippo 2004: fig. 36; 65 (stone masonry at Jerwan): photos by Massimiliano Gatti, courtesy of The Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project; 66 (arch): elaboration by the author; 67a-c (examples of arches): elaboration by the authors based on Naumann 1950: fig. 85 (a), Haller 1954: fig. 149 (b), Oates, D. 1990: fig. 6 (c); 68 (Porte du diable): de Genouillac 1934: pl. 46.2; 69a-b (barrel and pitched vaults): elaboration by the author; 70 (multi-ring arch): Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, public domain; 71 (stone T-pillar): Hauptmann 1999: fig. 11, courtesy of Harald Hauptmann; 72a (mosaic column): Hall, Woolley 1927: pl. 34.3-35.5-6; 72b (mosaic column): courtesy of Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg); 73 (moulded columns): Weiss 1985: 8, courtesy of Harvey Weiss; 74 (stone column base): elaboration by the author based on Loud 1936: pl. 32b; 75 (plaque with a ‘woman at the window’): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 76 (columns shaped as human figures): Oppenheim, M. 1933: 129, 136; 77 (backed clay grille): elaboration based on Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pl. 67a; 78a-b (window): elaboration by the author based on Delougaz, Hill, Lloyd 1967: pl. 34; 79 (incised cosmetic box): New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, public domain; 80 (Balawat Gates): Wikimedia Commons, license CC BY.SA 3.0, by Mujtaba Chohan; 81 (door socket): courtesy of the Penn Museum; 82 (Ur ziggurat staircase): Anastasio 2019: fig. 112, courtesy of MiBACT-Polo 204

Illustration credits

Museale della Toscana; 83 (mud-brick staircase over an arch): elaboration by the author based on McCown, Haines, Hansen 1967: pl. 79; 84 (Double escalier): Cros 1910: 95; 85 (well shaft): Andrae 1909: fig. 35-36; 86 (stone duct): Thureau-Dangin, Barrois, Dossin 1931: fig. 12; 87 (drain pipes): de Genuillac 1934: pl. 46/1; 88 (knee and T-clay joins): Hilprecht 1903b: fig. 51; 89 (drainage canal): Safar, Lloyd 1981: fig. 13; 90 (toilet): Delougaz et al. 1967: pl. 41b; courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; 91 (artificial pools): Andrae 1938: pl. 58; 92 (pebble mosaic): Bunnens 2009: 9; courtesy of Guy Bunnens; 93 (roof and ceiling): Delougaz 1940: fig. 122; courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; 94 (reconstructions of an Ur house): elaboration by the authors based on Woolley 1976: pl. 22 and Margueron 1991, II: 53; 95 (Uruk temple): elaboration by the author based on Forest 1996: fig. 91; 96 (Tell Madhur): elaboration by the author based on Roaf 1984: fig. 7; 97 (Uruk ‘White Temple’): elaboration by the author based on Frankfort 1954: fig. 4; 98 (Tutub ‘Oval Temple’): elaboration by the author based on Delougaz 1940: pl. 4; 99 (Babylon ziggurat): Anastasio 2019: fig. 185, courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana; 100a-b (Ur ziggurat): Anastasio 2019, figs. 104 and 114, courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana; 101a-e (Mesopotamian temple plans): elaborations by the author based on Hrouda 1997: fig. 6 (schema), Frankfort 1954: fig. 4 (type a), Frankfort 1954: fig. 35 (type b), Orthmann 2002: fig. 1 (type c), Frankfort 1954: fig. 232 (type d), Andrae 1938: fig. 44 8 (type e); 102 (Palace A at Kish): elaboration by the author based on Mackay 1929: pls. 21-22; 103 (Zimri-Lim’s Palace at Mari): elaboration by the author based on Margueron 1982: fig. 256; 104 (Sargon II’s Palace at Dur Sharrukin): elaboration by the author based on Loud, Altmann 1938: pl. 76; 105 (throne room at Dur Sharrukin): elaboration by the author based on Turner 1970: pl. 38; 106 (bit-hilani at Kapara): elaboration by the author based on Frankfort 1954: fig. 337; 107 (Nabuchdnezar’s Palace at Babylon): Anastasio 2019: fig. 188, courtesy of MiBACT-Polo Museale della Toscana; 108 (Tell es-Sawan): elaboration by the author based on Wailly, Soof 1965: fig. 39; 109 (the enceinte at Babylon): elaboration by the author based on Wetzel 1930: pl. 1; 110 (Jerf el-Ahmar): elaboration by the author based on Stordeur 2015: fig. 4B; 111a-b (round and orthogonal plans at Nemrik): elaboration by the author based on Kozłowski, Kempisty 1990: figs. 4-6; 112 (tholos at Tell Arpachya): elaboration by the author based on Mallowan, Rose 1935: fig. 13; 113 (round building at Tell Razuk): elaboration by the author based on Gibson 1984: pl. 5a-b; 114 (private house at Ur): elaboration by the author based on Frankfort 1954: fig. 117; 115 (granary at Choga Mami): elaboration by the author based on Forest 1996: fig. 42; 116 (kilns at Tutub): Delougaz 1940: fig. 120, courtesy of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago; 117 (Processional Way at Babylon): elaboration by the author based on Forbes 1964: fig. 21; 118 (bridge on the Balawat Gates): Birch 1880; The New York Public Library Digital Collections, Public Domain); 119 (Jerwan): Wikimedia Commons, license CC0 1.0, by Levi Clancy; 120 (qanat): elaboration by the author based on Ward English 1968: fig. 1; 121 (Sennacherib’s ‘hanging garden’): elaboration by the author based on Dalley, Oleson 2003: fig. 3; 122 (Bit Akitu): Andrae 1938: fig. 198; 123 (baghdir and tent): elaboration by the author based on Paterson 1912: pl. 5; 124 (Royal Cemetery at Ur): elaboration by the author based on Woolley 1934: pl. 24; 125-136: photos and drawings by Piero Gilento.

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Building between the Two Rivers: An introduction to the building archaeology of ancient Mesopotamia aims to introduce university students and scholars of Near Eastern archaeology to the ‘building archaeology’ methods as applied to the context of Ancient Mesopotamia. It helps the reader understand the principles underlying this discipline, which deals with the registration and analysis of all the building materials and techniques involved in the assembly and erection of constructions and to realise what knowledge and skills are needed, beyond those that are specific to archaeologists. The in-depth registration and analysis of building materials and techniques require professional skills and experience, which cannot be achieved with only a standard university training in archaeology. However, archaeologists need to know the basics of the classification of building materials, their physical properties, the main techniques of their finishing, as well as the basic principles of statics. They should also be able to let architects understand how to better tune the registration of data to ensure a fruitful archaeological interpretation. Due to the introductory nature of the book, contents are organised in didactic chapters, trying to cover all the main topics and displaying them by means of selected examples. Particular attention is given to the methods of the ‘stratigraphic reading’, which are discussed in a dedicated appendix authored by Piero Gilento. A thematic bibliography and a technical glossary complete the book, helping readers enhance their understanding of the subject. Stefano Anastasio is an archaeologist, specialist in Ancient Near East. He is currently storehouse-keeper of the archaeological deposits of the Superintendency for Archaeology, Arts and Landscape in Florence. He has participated in archaeological excavations and surveys in Italy (Sardinia, Tuscany), Syria, Turkey and Jordan. His main research interests are Mesopotamian Iron Age pottery and architecture, building archaeology, and the use of early photo archives for the study of ancient Near Eastern archaeology. Contact: stefano. [email protected] Piero Gilento is Associate Researcher at the Research Unit UMR7041-ArScAn (France), codirector of the French archaeological mission in northern Jordan, and Principal Investigator of the ACTECH project founded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship. He received his PhD in Archaeology from the University of Siena in 2013 with a research project focused on the study of Roman-Byzantine and Islamic architecture in Northern Jordan. His main research interests are focused on building archaeology, traditional building techniques, archaeoseismology, architectural heritage recording and the circulation and transmission of ancient building knowledge in the Mediterranean. He worked on various archaeological field projects in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Jordan. Contact: [email protected]

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