American Univesity of Beirut


​#ConnectingCollections is dreaming big with a monthly topic of #Architecture. Join us for some truly monumental discussions about architecture in ancient and modern worlds!

Villages developed during the Neolithic Period (ca. 12.000 – 6000 BCE). The oldest had circular houses, such as at Mureybet in northern Syria (ca. 9500 – 8700 BCE) as shown in this clay model house exhibited at the AUB Museum (Pic. 1).
Later, a Neolithic settlement at Byblos-Lebanon from 7000 BCE attests to rectangular, mono-cellular houses with lime plastered floors (Pic. 2).
A replica of a clay architectural model found in the necropolis of Selemiyeh, about 20 kms East of Hama, Syria, is exhibited at the AUB Museum (Pic. 3).  The original second millennium BCE model is kept at the Aleppo Museum. The model is hollow, without a ground or upper floor, and the exterior is decorated with doves which are usually associated with the goddess of fertility. A similar model of a building dedicated to the goddess Ishtar has been found in Ashur, in northern Iraq. The functional interpretation of these models is not clear, although they could have been used to burn incense.
Several houses dating from the Late Bronze Age have been discovered in the city of Tell el Amarna in Middle Egypt. Pic. 4 shows a 1933 reconstruction for Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago of an Egyptian noble’s dwelling, based on the plans of an actual house excavated by Henri Frankfort in 1929. Various features from other dwellings have been incorporated to create a model that best illustrates a typical large estate in the northern suburb of the town. It includes a shrine farm buildings, servants’ quarters, stables, storerooms, kitchens, all built in mud brick, and a walled garden. The house had only one floor with the exception of the north loggia, which had two. The roof of the central loggia was usually higher than the rest of the house, permitting light and ventilation through the windows. In 1978, Dolly Shwayri, an AUB archaeology student, built the model shown in Pic. 5 which is currently displayed at the AUB Museum.​

Pic. 1:
Clay model of a circular house from Mureybet (North Syria),
ca. 9500 – 8700 BC,
AUB Archaeological Museum

Pic. 2:
Limestone floor of a monocellular hut in Byblos-Lebanon.

Model of Selemiyeh
Pic. 4:
“Model of a Tell el Amarna House” made to the order of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, based on the plans published by Seton Lloyd: “Model of a Tell el Amarna House” in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 1933.
Pic. 5:
This model is based on the 1933 model, and was built by AUB archaeology student Dolly Shwayri, in 1978.

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