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Social Technology of (mudbrick) Architecture

  • Serena Love (Koç University, University of Queensland)
Tuesday 23 February 2016
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room E0.04


This paper uses a case study from the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey, to illustrate how social technology can be derived from an analysis of mudbricks.

Similar to ceramic production, mudbricks are the products of deliberate human actions and reflect intentional choices. Standard geoarchaeological methods were used to analyze spatial and temporal variations of mud-brick recipes from 89 distinct houses.

These methods were an effective interpretive tool for identifying subtle discrepancies between mud-brick compositions of neighboring houses. When there was only mud to choose from, the differences in manufacturing practices accounts for a greater variance between households than just sources of raw materials. Resource exploitation and landscape management are visible through synchronic analysis but data also revealed varying degrees of household independence.

Examining the technology involved with mudbrick manufacture highlights aspects of Neolithic social life through shared resources, production choices, and organization of labor.

This paper argues that when architecture is interpreted as material culture, then the mudbricks can be considered objects reflexive of human behavior. As material culture, architecture becomes a metaphor for human engagement and symbolic communication.

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