A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture

By Gwendolyn Leick | Go to book overview
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Generally, ramparts are fortified walls surrounding a citadel or a settlement. More specifically, the term is used like the German Wall, Erdwall for banks of earth, sometimes faced with plaster or stones (eg JERICHO MB II), which could constitute either a primitive defensive wall (as in Neolithic GEZER for instance), or a secondary line of fortification, outside the city walls. Ramparts are sometimes found in connection with dry ditches as the by-product of their excavation (BOGHAZKÖY, TELL HALAF: Iron Age, BUHEN).

Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit)

Syro-Palestine/Levant, see map p. xix. The site was already inhabited during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (7th millennium BC) and from then almost continuously until the 12th C BC. There are some eighteen layers of occupation. Excavations of architectural structures concentrated on those of the Phoenician city (Ugarit) of the Late Bronze period (14th-12th C BC), but only a small part of the city, which covered some 22ha, has been investigated. The palace and other official buildings were situated in the NW of the town. The acropolis in the centre contained two temples and the priests’ quarters. The residential area of the upper classes was near the palaces, while the craftsmen and traders occupied the southern part of the city. The palace quarter was crossed by a transverse road. The fortress on the W flank of the mound had a stone glacis with an inclination of 45°. A corbel-vaulted postern with a right-hand turn led directly to a staircase which gave access to the interior.

The Royal Palace is one of the largest and most luxuriously appointed palaces discovered in the Ancient Near East. It was built in at least four stages from the 18th to the 13th C BC. The area covered was 6500m2. There were five large and four smaller courtyards, some seventy rooms and halls, gardens and a tower. The existence of a substantial upper storey is made highly probable by remains of twelve staircases. The palace was built in stone (except for the upper storeys) and the main walls, some of which are preserved up to a height of up to 4m, were made of beautifully dressed ashlar masonry. The N facade, which overlooked the main road, was further distinguished by buttresses and bossed masonry. On the main facade and on the great courtyards, there were porticoes with wooden columns on stone bases. Corbel-vaulted subterranean tombs built of large stone blocks were found under the second court and even larger ones in the so-called Palais Sud. These funerary apartments consisted of three rooms, entered by a double-columned portico. The palace covered an area of 1600m2, roughly the same size as the Northern Palace, the construction of which dates back to the 17th C BC. It ceased to be used in the 15thC and served as a quarry for stones. The careful and compact layout of this palace contrasts


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A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture


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