Studying ancient monumental architecture

Have you ever wondered how monumental structures were built and why? How was the community involved in contributing to this huge piece of architectural work? Was the work centrally organised or outsourced?

The Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project (PULP), a project based at the University of Cyprus under the direction of Professor Maria Iacovou, tries to answer these and other related questions. The project investigates a defensive monument at Palaepaphos in Cyprus. It focuses on craft specialisation and architecture of monumental building in the 1st millennium BCE.

The construction of the monumental rampart made extensive use of mudbricks in combination with stoneworks towards the creation of a majestic public building. Dr. Marta Lorenzon (ANEE, University of Helsinki) studied its geoarchaeological and earthen architecture. The study focuses on analysing mudbricks both macroscopically and microscopically as part of this concrete example of Cypro-Classical monumental earthen architecture.

Lorenzon and Iacovou wrote an article on the study of the rampart, highlighting the use of specific mudbrick manufacturing practices. The article was recently published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. Given that the rampart constituted one of the major investment of the royal authorities of ancient Paphos, the results provide new information on the production of earthen building materials and on environmental impact on raw material selection in the context of a major public project.