Monday, February 27, 2012

Accidental Preservation - Hattuşa
Simple, sun-dried mud bricks are hard to maintain. Frost damage cracks them up. Rain drops wash them away. Wind whips layers off of them. An entire city, epic fortified walls and all, can disappear over the centuries and we would be none the wiser.

Hattuşa's few crumbling walls, "fired" by an invading army, show the size and composition of the original bricks, and the plaster that coated them. Otherwise, the remaining stone foundations provide no clues to what any of the vertical structures looked like.

But... military leaders like to play with figurines, and maps, and scale models, and Hattuşa's leaders were no different. Archaeologists unearthed a clay model of a fortification.

Between the two discoveries, a dream of reconstruction was hatched. Archaeologists used Hittite methods, as best as they could guess. They mixed clay and hay in large pits, and rotated the hand-formed bricks under the sun. Then brick by brick, the towers rose. Follow the link under the pic to see more details on the hand made Hittite structure and the methods used in the project.

As for me - I'm looking at the way the sun highlights the bricks beneath the plaster, the color of the clay, the scalloped crenelations -details I can use in my next story. You know what I do miss though - the smells. I'm thinking the interiors should have a damp clay odor, but I'm not sure. Anatolia is pretty dry. Supposedly, there's lime in the clay. What does that smell like? Different than the rusty red clay in my backyard? Bet it smells different depending on the season.

Guess I need to take a field trip! ;)


Old Kitty said...

Gosh of course there would be a clay smell! I never thought of that - well done you!!! I hope you do get to do some field research!! You must know!!! I want to know now too!!

Take care

LTM said...

Ancient architectural methods are so interesting. How did they do all the things they did. And how did they make them so BIG without cranes, etc.

But I like where your heads at re: smell. A field trip would be fantastic~ :o) <3 said...

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