Reconstruction of the Temple Oval Khafajah,
drawing is an artist's reconstruction of the Temple Oval at Khafajah,
Iraq, as it may have looked around 2700 B.C. The remains of the temple
and its surrounding community were excavated by the Iraq Expedition of
the Oriental Institute between 1930 and 1934. The temple is surrounded
by sturdily built mud-brick homes which were packed closely together along
the narrow, winding city streets. The thick walls of the houses provided
good insulation against the elements, and flat rooftops provided extra
climate and readily available natural resources determined building styles
and construction techniques in ancient Mesopotamia. These factors not
only influenced the appearance of buildings and how they were decorated
but also their survival in our archaeological records.
arch and column were developed by the ancient Mesopotamians, and they
were also familiar with the use of domes. They were masters of construction
using bricks made of mud, their one abundant, but impermanent, building
material. Brick making was a major Mesopotamian industry, especially in
the south, where wood was in short supply and stone was non-existent.
Over the centuries, torrential rains and shifting sands destroyed much
of southern Mesopotamia's mud-brick architectural heritage. Only crumbled
mounds remain as evidence of the great cities that once stood in the deserts
of southern Iraq.