The Assyrian Expedition

Originally Published in 1933

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THE main feature of the recent season at Tell Billa, according to Mr. Charles Bache’s final report, was a street flanked on both sides with large stones and with an open drain in the center into which emptied feeder drains from the buildings. These buildings are entirely private dwellings, each with their street door having a sill of stone slightly higher than the large stones edging the street. Leading from the door, each house has a small vestibule from which one passes either to the main chamber of the dwelling or to an open court.

Three men standing in a partially excavated temple stratum
Plate VI — The Temple of Stratum IX, Tepe Gawra, Iraq

All courts are paved, usually with baked-brick , and around the base of the walls of the courts are base-boards of one row of baked brick set on edge, making an effective protection against seepage and consequent destruction by water of the lower courses of the libn (mud-brick) walls. The builders of the period, the Assyrians of the Middle Empire, must be congratulated on their mastery of the difficult art of libn construction. The kitchens of the dwellings were all exposed to the sky, as in present-day houses of the district, and were usually paved with baked-brick.

At Tepe Gawra the close of the season saw Stratum X completely cleared, with but one or two exceptions. There is but little doubt that the inhabitants of Stratum X were the same as those of Stratum IX and of the three phases of Stratum VIII; there are no essential differences in the pottery, and the architecture is a duplicate of that of the upper strata.

As previously reported, a temple was found in Stratum IX [Plate VI] which almost duplicated the two temples of VIII. Continuing this sequence, in the last week of digging at Gawra, the walls of a still earlier temple were found in Stratum X. It seems definitely to be a forerunner of the other three structures, for the crenellated walls, the open vestibule at the front, and the two rooms with smaller internal walls are all present. So much had been destroyed that it was impossible to tell whether the central room had been furnished with a sacrificial podium, as the temple of Stratum IX had been.

Cite This Article

"The Assyrian Expedition." Museum Bulletin IV, no. 4 (June, 1933): 102-103. Accessed July 15, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1180/


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