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Bricks, Sweat and Tears: The Human Investment in Constructing a "Four-Room" House

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Abstract

Imagine having to construct your own house without the benefit of modern machinery or resources-and imagine doing it while holding down a full-time job and raising a family. In this article, the author brings vividly to life the realities of building a home in ancient Palestine.

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... Entre la amplia bibliografía sobre este tipo de viviendas, pueden verse, con abundantes referencias,Faust (1999);Clark (2003);Faust y Bunimovitz (2003); Faust y Bunimovitz (2014); ...
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... In addition, a volume of Near Eastern Archaeology (Herr 2003) was devoted to the theme "House introduction 3 and Home in the Southern Levant," presenting five papers centering on houses from the Neolithic through the Byzantine period. One can note, however, the continued focus on the four-room house (see above) with two articles devoted to that subject (e.g., Faust and Bunimovitz 2003b;Clark 2003). ...
... Additionally, mud bricks are a good source of botanical evidence, including desiccated chaff, straw, fruits, and seeds (Henn et al. 2014), chaff impressions (Wilcox and Fornite 1999), phytoliths (Ryan 2013), diatoms (Flower 2006), and pollen (Ayyad et al. 1991;O'Rourke 1983). Mud brick technology is also an indicator of cultural activities, allowing researchers to reconstruct manufacturing practices (Nodarou et al. 2008), technological innovation (Cameron 1998;Oates 1990), or construction costs (Clark 2003). This enables researchers to connect buildings with individual producers or workshops. ...
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Recent research into mud brick architecture have established that the simple mud brick is a potential source of cultural information and can provide information about chronology, technology, identity, labor, resources, and environmental conditions. Some analytical techniques for the analysis of sun-dried mud bricks are dependent on the exportation of archaeological samples to foreign laboratories. Some countries severely restrict (or prohibit) the export or removal of archaeological materials making it essential to conduct analysis while in the field. This paper demonstrates the successful use of in-field procedures using a range of portable equipment to quantify basic mud brick characteristics, including particle size distribution through wet sieving, RGB color, magnetic susceptibility, and acid digestion to quantify calcium carbonate. Field and laboratory methods were compared on a single data set, specifically the assemblage from the Neolithic Anatolian site of Çatalhöyük. The results confirmed the accuracy of these methods and provide effective field techniques for mud brick analysis. This article provides an overview of recent research highlighting the importance of mud brick studies and provides procedures for in-field analysis of materials.
... As such, numerous studies were devoted to its origins, the ethnic identity of its inhabitants, the causes of its popularity, its function, and even to mundane questions such as whether the central room (courtyard) was roofed or not (e.g. Faust 2006;2014;Netzer 1992;Shiloh 1970;1973;1978;Stager 1985; see also Clark 2003;Hardin 2010). We will elaborate on some of these aspects below. ...
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The distinction between clean and unclean, often associated with bodily functions, is a common feature of human societies. Consequently, diverse groups developed different ways of maintaining separation between the realms. Despite its prominence in many ethnographies and in anthropology at large, and although the spatial expression of this separation is susceptible to archaeological enquiry, the concept of purity had received less attention by archaeologists. The completion of the excavation of a large house at Tel ʿEton supplied us with detailed information on household life and practices in Iron Age Israel. The finds from this house, along with a very large archaeological dataset about Iron Age Israelite society at large and the wealth of textual data from this period, give us insights into the practices associated with purity/impurity. The article reconstructs how Iron Age Israelite society coped with the implications of impurity (mainly women during menstruation) in its daily life, how impurity was contained, and offers a reconstruction of the ritual that accompanied the change of status from impure to pure.
... This review has mainly deals with the creations, modifications, applications and scientific base practiced by them for advancements. They had invented sun dried (Oates, 1990;Clark, 2003) and fired bricks (Burian and ...
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The sewage system is the result of sequential changes and developments of Tsophisticated human life from tribal ungrouped to scattered rural and so on. Many scholars from various disciplines like Engineering, Architecture, urban planning and urban water management etc have discovered several innovations of ancient civilizations related to the structure, used material types, shapes, systems, etc about the individual house to whole settlement. Many such ancient civilizations had systematic and scientific based toilet, washing place and complete sewage system. The present investigation aims to find out the roots and their causes of various inventions of settlements particularly in sewage system. For this, Mesopotamian civilization, an oldest civilization, has been selected as a case study. The culture of toilet and bathroom is one of the important and systematic alternatives for open defecation. This vital system was practiced and gradually sifted from palaces to domestic level in Mesopotamian civilization. Toilet and bathroom become an important part of home and acquired the interior position as a small room. At the initial stage of civilization they have been applied manually clean up system in the toilet and bathroom. Then after different kind of tools and techniques were practiced to minimize the human efforts for management the wastes. They have connected many houses to a sewage line of a village. In this regard, therefore, is the important step towards the systematic development of sewage system for a whole settlement, which has been introduced long back in our ancient era i.e.3000 BC. In short, it is observed the and techniques have been used in that era e.g. measuring slopes, counting the amount of solid and liquids of the wastes, taking right consideration regarding pressure of the wastes, gravitational forces, molding methods for bricks and utensils, drying methods, study of soil characteristics for making different types of tools, etc. The present investigation therefore has an importance to compare their techniques to our present practices.
... In addition, a volume of Near Eastern Archaeology (Herr 2003) was devoted to the theme "House introduction 3 and Home in the Southern Levant," presenting five papers centering on houses from the Neolithic through the Byzantine period. One can note, however, the continued focus on the four-room house (see above) with two articles devoted to that subject (e.g., Faust and Bunimovitz 2003b;Clark 2003). ...
... Houben & Guillaud 2005, 194). Mud will have to be handled and transported several times, from its source, to the mixing area, to the brick-making area, to the drying area and eventually to the wall (Clark 2003;Edwards 2002;Facey 1997). The end product is then a unique result of these choices, of which there are hundreds of variations and possibilities. ...
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In a densely packed, streetless village such as Neolithic Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia, it is argued in this article that variations in mudbrick recipes were used to mark social identity and autonomy through the performance of building. Geoarchaeological analysis of mudbricks established that cultural modifications were used to create social differences between neighbouring houses. Although mudbricks were ultimately invisible objects, hidden behind multiple layers of plaster, the processes of mudbrick manufacture and house construction were performed in the public domain allowing opportunities for individual expression. These results are situated within a larger practice of hiding and burying meaningful objects at Çatalhöyük, where unseen objects had as much power and affect as any object on display.
... For example, Matthews (2005) estimates that a single house at Çatalhöyük required 50 m 3 of soil, in addition to quantities of water, vegetal stabilizers, and timbers. Aller and Aller (1948) estimates that 0.028 m 3 of earth is needed to make two bricks measuring 30 Â 45 Â 10 cm and Keefe (2005: 31, see also Clark, 2003) predicts that a single-story dwelling requires between 125 and 150 tons of soil for the external and internal walls. Considering that Mellaart (1967) exposed over 30 contemporary structures at Çatalhöyük (Level VII/South M), the quantity of soil required just to construct all the houses in this small portion of the site would exceed 1500 m 3 or 4050 tons of soil. ...
... 6 See also Bunimowitz and Faust (2002). The four-room house appears to be an important labor-intensive achievement in its own right (Clark 2003). James K. Hoffmeier has uncovered interesting remains of huts at Tell el-Borg which could be interpreted as the predecessors for workmen's houses, according to lecture in Copenhagen May 23 2005. ...
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Mud‐brick is one of the most adaptable and versatile of building materials. Its early use in the Near East is discussed, with particular reference to its employment in elaborate façade decoration, for example in the spiral and palm‐trunk semi‐columns of the Great Temple at Tell al Rimah (c. 1800 BC) and in various types of vault. Evidence is discussed for the contemporary use of three techniques of sun‐dried mud‐brick vaulting ‐ radial, pitched‐brick and corbelled ‐ at least as early as the second half of the third millennium BC.
Limekilns from the Regional Survey. Pp. 343-52 in Madaba Plains Project 2: The 1987 Season at Tell el-'Umeiri and Vicinity and Subsequent Studies
  • G L Christopherson
Christopherson, G. L. 1991 Limekilns from the Regional Survey. Pp. 343-52 in Madaba Plains Project 2: The 1987 Season at Tell el-'Umeiri and Vicinity and Subsequent Studies, edited by L. G. Herr, L. T Geraty, 0. S. LaBianca and R. W. Younker. Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University/Institute of Archaeology.