Universiteit Leiden

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Labouring with large stones

Thursday 18 April 2019
Archaeological Forum
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

Assessing the impact of large-scale construction projects on Mycenaean communities

During the Mycenaean period (±1600-1100BC) in Greece, vast fortification walls were built at a large number of sites. These walls were built with huge stones, weighing up to several tonnes. This was no small task and this study is focussed on trying to determine how much effort it must have taken to build these impressive walls. In this labour-cost study, by breaking down a structure to its individual components,  I obtain an estimate of the workforce that was needed for different stages of construction. These stages can include quarrying, transport and the final assembly of the walls.

One of the issues with such labour-cost studies is the large amount of assumptions that are needed at every step of the process of calculating a total sum of labour investment. Within this project fortification walls have been recorded in 3D with high accuracy, using Total Stations and photogrammetry. In this lecture it will be evaluated whether such high precision recording can add anything to the quality of the labour-cost analysis. If the quality can be increased, this might increase the usability and the reliability of labour-cost analyses. Furthermore, by comparing large-scale constructions to smaller structures like houses, the calculated effort can be put in perspective. This will improve our understanding of the building process and the potential impact of such large building projects on communities. 

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