The history of mudbrick production and construction in the southern Levant may be dated as far back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A. However, at many of the sites where mudbrick remains were noted, their preservation was poor, so investigation of their production and the related construction techniques in antiquity was precluded. The 7,200 year old (cal BP) site of Tel Tsaf, located in the Jordan Valley, is distinguished by outstanding preservation of mudbrick architecture, which enables us to delve into various issues related to mudbrick technology, construction and preservation. The present paper discusses some of the mudbrick features at Tel Tsaf and their characteristics and offers a comprehensive analytical study of the mudbricks from multiple contexts and phases. These demonstrate consistency in three of the four measured variables: magnetic susceptibility, organic content and calcium carbonate equivalent. The results of our study suggest that while we can identify morphometric variability between bricks and walls, by and large, a uniform composition characterized the tested assemblages without any temporal or spatial variability. This indicates that a single locally-sourced raw material was used and that recycling of old decayed mudbricks was likely practiced. The consistency of mudbrick-production during all phases of the occupation at Tel Tsaf and the absence of multiple recipes implies that a shared production and technological know-how was maintained for at least 500 years at the site.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Tel Tsaf research project is generously supported by the Israel Science foundation (ISF grant 216/17), the Irene Levi-Sala CARE Foundation, the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin and the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
© 2020 Rosenberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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