Ancient Building Technology, Volume 1: Historical Background


The wealth of excavation of ancient buildings in the past 50 years and the resulting flood of publications has created a demand for a survey of building practice in antiquity. This two-volume work deals with the techniques of setting together the fabric of ancient buildings: the manual and mechanical operations involved; the materials, tools and equipment used. "Ancient" here means from very first beginnings (origins) to the end of Late Antiquity (i.e. about 600 A.D.); as manifested geographically in the Old World of Europe and the Middle East (not sub-Saharan Africa, Further Asia, the Far East or New World). Building (the product and the process) is limited to architectural building and looks at the technology of civil engineering only where it introduces novelties. Technology here means the system of techniques used in the process of building construction rather than the science or theory of building.
The 10 chapters of this first volume are intended to give a general perspective of animal building in the light of evolutionary biology, then of building in the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Levanto-Aegean, Achaemenid, Greek, Roman, Late Antique -Early Christian / Byzantine / Sassanian contexts (with a weighting towards the lesser known prehistoric beginnings and late antique end). The second volume will focus on the technical details: materials of construction, structural systems, principles of construction and forms of construction.

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EUR €164.00USD $204.00

Biographical Note

G.R.H. Wright studied history, law and architecture. He taught at the University of Munich and spent a lifetime recording and restoring monuments throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, East Africa and Southern India. His many publications include equally works on the History of Architecture and on the History of Religion, as also technical accounts of restoration projects.

Table of contents

Preface Introduction I. Historical Survey (A) Palaeontological background (B) First Shelters - Later Palaeolithic (C) Domestic Building in the Middle East - Neolithic, Chalcolithic (D) Monumental Building - ca. 3000 BC - 500 AD. 1. Megalithic Construction 2. Mesopotamian Construction 3. Egyptian Construction 4. Levanto-Aegaean Construction 5. Classical Greek Construction 6. Roman Construction 7. Late Antique Construction - Western and Eastern 8. Resume II. Materials of Construction Their winning/manufacture, processing and utilisation with tools of trace (A) Wood (B) Earth/Clay (C) Stone (D) Lime/Gypsum (E) Bitumen (F) Glass (G) Metal III. Structural Systems Framed, Load bearing, Trabeated, Arcuated IV. Processes of Construction (A) Statistical Analysis and Calculation (B) Project Drawings and Specifications (C) Site Preparation, Installation and Equipment (D) Works Organisation V. Forms of Construction (A) Foundations (B) Walls (C) Point Supports (D) Floors (E) Doors (F) Windows (G) Steps (H) Roofs VI. Conclusions (A) Formation of Building Technology: Evolution - Diffusion (B) Development of Building Technology: Technical and Social Factors (C) Change and Progress in Building Technology (D) Building Technology, Culture and Civilisation Index.


Academic libraries, students and scholars of art and archaeology in the Ancient World.

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