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Sacred versus Secular Space: Mesopotamian Architecture in Context



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (History)
St. George

When and where did the first buildings come about? Learn how some 10,000 years ago, the first permanent dwellings were constructed in the ancient Near East. Discover how the agricultural revolution and the domestication of animals resulted in the formation of villages during the Neolithic period (9,000–5,000 BC) with house types that grew in size and complexity. Observe how religious architecture evolved from simple, household-based cultic installations to large public complexes that dominated cities during the Uruk and Early Dynastic periods (4,000–2,300 BC). See how the rise and manifestation of powerful political leaders is reflected in the development, layout and decoration of their palaces. Beyond a typological approach to architecture, this course will also address challenges created by environmental conditions and limitations in available building materials. While focusing on Mesopotamia and Syria, it will also incorporate examples from Iran, Anatolia and the Levant.