How long does it take to burn down an ancient Near Eastern city The study of experimentally heated mud-bricks

Mathilde C.L. Forget, Ruth Shahack-Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many famous archaeological sites have been subjected to destructive fires, whether hostile or accidental, including Near Eastern cities constructed largely of mud-brick. But how long did it take to burn down a city The mud-bricks themselves provide a valuable record. By heating experimental bricks of different sizes, shapes and compositions to high temperatures, the minimum duration of an ancient conflagration can be calculated. The resulting equations were applied to bricks from the destruction of Tel Megiddo at the end of the Iron Age I, and indicate that the burning lasted a minimum of two to three hours: a much shorter period than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1225
Number of pages13
JournalAntiquity
Volume90
Issue number353
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016.

Keywords

  • Bronze Age
  • Iron Age
  • Near East
  • combustion
  • conflagration
  • fire
  • mud-brick

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities (all)

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