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History of Architecture – Prehistoric & Ancient Architecture

MODULE 1 5. HOGAN – a Navaho Indian dwelling

Prehistoric and Ancient Architecture constructed usually of earth and logs
and covered with mud and sod.
6. IGLOO – an Eskimo house, usually
EARLY DWELLINGS built of blocks of hard snow or ice in
 Shift from nomadic, hunter-gatherer the shape of a dome, or when
system to a combination of farming permanent, of sod, wood, or stone.
and hunting
 Domestication of animals and RELIGIOUS STRUCTURES
 Created societies of villages near 1. MEGALITHS – ancient stone
caves or along shores and monuments.
2. MENHIR (Monolith) – a prehistoric
ROCK CAVES – earliest form of monument consisting of an upright
human settlement. stone, usually standing alone but
 Lascaux Cave – a cave in France sometimes aligned with others in
containing wall paintings and parallel rows.
engravings of Paleolithic humans
thought to date from c. 13,000 – 3. DOLMEN – a prehistoric monument
8,500 BCE. consisting of two or more large upright
stones supporting a horizontal slab or
BUILT SHELTER capstone, and usually regarded as a
 Primitive lifestyle was nomadic. tomb.
 Temporary Shelter were designed  Cove – three standing stones, two
in direct response to climate, local on the sides and one at the back.
materials, and hunting patterns.  Trilithon – a structure consisting of
 Built with limited investment in time two upright stones supporting a
and energy. horizontal lintel.

1. TIPI/TEEPEE – a portable Indian 4. CROMLECH – a circular

shelter. arrangement of megaliths enclosing a
dolmen or burial mound.
2. BEEHIVE HUT – a clochan is a  Stone Circle, Avebury, England –
stone beehive-shaped hut with a these stone circles were associated
corbelled roof, commonly associated with burials, others with cremation.
with the Irish coastline. They also worked as celestial
observatories that were meant to
3. TRULLO – a traditional rendered follow the movements of the moon
stone dwelling in Apulia, southern Italy, and stars, as would have been
in which square chambers are roofed typical for early agrarian-based
with conical vaulted roofs. societies.
 Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain in
4. WIGWAM – an American Indian Wiltshire, England – a megalithic
dwelling, usually of round or oval monument consisting of four
shape, formed of poles overlaid with concentric rings of trilithons and
bark, rush mats, or animal skins. menhirs centered around an altar
stone. It is believed to have been

History of Architecture – Prehistoric & Ancient Architecture

used by a sun cult or for

astronomical obervations.

5. TUMULUS – an artificial mound of SUMERIAN (5000 – 2000 BC)

earth or stone, especially over an  Architecture developed by the
ancient grave. Also called barrow. Sumerians.
 Characterized by monumental
EARLY CITIES temples of sun-dried brick faced
 Ice Age to the Neolithic Age; the with burnt or glazed brick, often
earth’s climate warmed up. built upon the ruins of their
 As settlements became more predecessors.
permanent, hunters started farming
communities. ZIGGURAT – stepped structures
 New architecture was also constructed with outside staircases
developed to represent communal and a temple or shrine at the top for
and spiritual values. worshipping the gods of nature.
 Ziggurats were built of mud bricks
1. JERICHO made of dirt mixed with water and
 One of the world’s oldest straw.
continually-inhabited cit.  Its four corners were oriented
 A hilltop city; citizens lived in stone towards the cardinal points.
houses with plaster floors,  Priests conduct ceremonies at the
surrounded by high walls and fire altar on top.
ZIGGURAT OF UR, Tell el-Muqayyar,
2. KHIROKITIA (Cyprus) Iraq – a temple dedicated to the moon
 One of the earliest Neolithic village. god built by the Sumerian ruler, Ur
 Utilized a complex architectural Nammu, and his successors around
system built according to a 2125 BC.
preconceived plan, suggesting a
structured social organization. BABYLONIAN (2000 – 1600 BC)
 The last great Mesopotamian city-
3. CATAL HUYUK empire of the ancient age.
 Largest and most well-preserved  Architecture characterized by mud-
Neolithic village. brick construction, had walls
 Consisted of rectangular flat-roofed articulated by pilasters and
houses packed together into a recesses, sometimes faced with
single architectural mass. burnt and glazed brick.
 No streets or passageways.  Palaces and temples were
decorated with enameled brick
friezes of bulls and lions.


the Bible, this structure may have been
built in Babylon around 600 BC by
 Fertile Crescent; present day Iraq;
King Nebuchadnezzar II to “rival
 From the Greek words mesos and heaven”.
potamas, meaning “middle river”.
 Refers to the fertile plain between Herodotus recorded that the ziggurat
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. had 7 tiers covered in glazed tiles. The
History of Architecture – Prehistoric & Ancient Architecture

tower may have been risen to a height PERSEPOLIS – “the city of the
of 300 feet and may have been used Persians”, designed by Darius as his
as a temple for worshipping Marduk, own capital city.
the god of the city of Babylon.
palace constructed of mud brick walls
were covered with glazed, colored tiles EGYPTIAN (3000 BC – 200 AD)
decorated with animal reliefs. Legend  Characterized by the axial planning
says that the sumptuous palace was of massive masonry tombs and
terraced with lush gardens that were temples, the use of trabeated
irrigated by water pumped from the construction with precise
Euphrates. stonework, and the decoration of
battered walls with pictographic
ISHTAR GATE – large, four-storey carvings in relief.
portal dominating the processional  A preoccupation with eternity and
avenue through the city. It was the afterlife dominated the building
covered in glazed bricks, colorful tiles, of these funerary monuments and
and decorative figures of bulls and temples.
CHARACTER – simplicity,
ASSYRIAN (900 – 700 BC) massiveness, monumentality
 Palaces took precedence over MATERIAL – stone and brick
religious buildings. SYSTEM – columnar and trabeated
 Architecture was characterized by
mud-brick buildings. Stone was NILE RIVER – world’s longest river.
used for carved monumental
decorative sculptures. RELIGIOUS STRUCTURES
 External walls were plainly treated,
but ornamented with carved relief 1. MASTABA – a tomb for the nobility
sculpture or with polychrome or members of the royal family. Made
bricks. of mud brick, rectangular in plan with a
 Interior courts were all large, and flat roof and sloping sides, from which
filled with columns. a shaft leads to underground burial
and offering chambers.
DUR-SHARRUKIN (Palace of Sargon,
Khorsabad, Iraq) – squarish 2. TEMPLES – an edifice or place
parallelogram city, with the palace dedicated to the worship or presence
temples, and government buildings of a deity.
compressed within the walls.  Cult Temple – an ancient Egyptian
temple for the worship of a deity.
SERAGLIO – palace proper  Mortuary Temple – an ancient
HARAM – private chamber Egyptian temple for offerings and
KHAN – service chamber worship of a deceased person,
usually a deified king.
PERSIAN (500 – 331 BC)
 Characterized by a synthesis of KARNAK TEMPLE COMPLEX – one
architectural elements of of the main components of the
surrounding countries such as political/religious landscape built in
Assyria, Egypt, and Ionian Greece. honor to Amun-Re, the god of the sun
and the heaven.

History of Architecture – Prehistoric & Ancient Architecture

mortuary temple played a key role in

AVENUE OF SPHINXES – leads to a the processional events as the
tall portal guarded by a towering pylon. temporary resting place for the barque
during the Beautiful Feast of the
SPHINX – a figure of an imaginary Valley.
creature having the body of a lion and ROCK-CUT TOMB – a tomb hewn out
the head of a man, ram, or hawk. of native rock, presenting only an
 Androsphinx – human-headed architectural front with dark interior
sphinx chambers, of which the sections are
 Criosphinx – ram-headed sphinx supported by masses of stone left in
 Hieracosphinx – falcon-headed the form of solid pillars.
ABU SIMBEL – the façade, carved
OBELISK – an Egyptian monolithic directly into the sandstone cliff, takes
four-sided standing stone tapering to a the form of a pylon and is dominated
pyramidical cap (a pyramidion), often by four colossal seated figures, 22
inscribed with hieroglyphs and erected meters tall, all portrayals of Ramesses.
as a monument.
PRAMID – a massive masonry
PYLON – a gateway guarding a structure having a rectangular base
sacred precinct consisting of either a and four smooth, steeply sloping sides
pair of tall truncated pyramids and a facing the cardinal points and meeting
doorway between them, often at an apex.
decorated with painted reliefs. Used in ancient Egypt as a tomb to
contain the burial chamber and the
HYPOSTYLE HALL – a large hall mummy of the pharaoh.
having many columns in rows  Step Pyramid – sides are stepped
supporting a flat roof, and sometimes a with tiers rather than smooth (e.g.
clerestory. Pyramid of King Djoser, Saqqara).
 Bent Pyramid – each triangular
PYLON TEMPLE – an Egyptian planar surface changes direction as
temple with monumental gateways, it approaches the top, as in a
formed by twined pylons. mansard roof; sometimes called as
blunt or false pyramid (e.g. Pyramid
KIOSK – a freestanding stone canopy of Sneferu).
structure supported by columns in  Sloped Pyramid – four sloping
Egyptian architecture. triangular sides, with a fixed angle,
culminate at an apex; also called
MAMMISI – birth-house; a small as true pyramid (e.g. North
Egyptian side temple, kiosk or tent Pyramid of Dahshur – first true
shrine to celebrate the place where the pyramid, built by Sneferu).
god of the main temple was born, or
where the goddess bore her children. IMHOTEP – the first architect recorded
in history. He designed the Saqqara
BARQUE TEMPLE – a room or complex and the Stepped Pyramid of
building in which the image of the Djoser.
Pharaoh or deity was revered.
PYRAMIDS OF GIZA – erected on the
MORTUARY TEMPLE OF west bank of Nile River; built of local
HATSHEPSUT – Queen Hatshepsut’s stone on a core of rock with casing

History of Architecture – Prehistoric & Ancient Architecture

blocks of limestone; 480 feet tall with a 1. SENUSRETS – built the earliest
square base measuring 756 feet on a known obelisk at Heliopolis.
side. 2. AMENEMHAT I – founded the great
temple at Karnak.
PYRAMID COMPLEX – the 3. THOTHMES I – began the additions
ceremonial area of buildings and to the temple of Ammon Karnak.
structures surrounding an ancient 4. AMENOPHIS III – built the famous
Egyptian pyramid. Colossi of Memnon.
Parts: 5. RAMESES I – began the Hypostyle
 Mortuary temple – a place of Hall at Karnak.
worship of a deceased king or 6. SETI I – built the temple at Abu
queen, especially one adjoining a Simbel.
pyramid or rock-cut tomb, in which 7. PTOLEMY II – built the Pharos at
offerings of food and objects were Alexandria.
made; also called funerary temple. 8. PTOLEMY III – founded the Great
 Valley temple – a temple pavilion Seradeum at Alexandria.
in an ancient Egyptian pyramid
complex, connected via a covered
causeway to a mortuary temple at MINOAN (1800 – 1300 BC)
the foot of a pyramid; used for  A Bronze Age civilization flourished
preparing the Pharaoh for his final in Crete.
journey.  Named after King Minos of
 Pyramid temple – a mortuary Knossos.
temple connected specifically to a  Gate buildings with multi-columnar
pyramid, or part of an Egyptian porches provided access to
pyramid complex. unfortified compounds.
 Pyramid causeway – a covered  Foundation walls, piers and lintels
ceremonial route or corridor leading were stone with the upper walls in
from a valley temple to a mortuary timber framework.
temple at the foot of a pyramid,
notably at sites of the Nile valley PALACE AT KNOSSOS – the palace
pyramids. contained residences, kitchens,
storage rooms, bathrooms, ceremonial
STELA – a slab stela shows a royal rooms, workshops, and sanctuaries.
personage at a funerary repast sitting
next to an offering table covered with
the loaves of bread that have been
brought to him. Next to him on the
floor, on small platforms, are
containers holding incense, ointments,
figs, and wine.

CAPITALS – bud & bell, palm,

foliated, Hatthor head, Osiris,

MOULDINGS – torus and gorge