Friday, June 06, 2014

Baird on the houses of Dura Europos

ASOR BLOG: The Inner Lives of Ancient Houses: An Archaeology of Dura-Europos (J. A. Baird). Excerpts:
... My book, The Inner Lives of Ancient Houses: An Archaeology of Dura-Europos is the first to consider the houses of the site as a whole.

The Dura houses were excavated by a team from Yale in the 1920s and 1930s, and though a wealth of archaeological and textual material was recovered, most of that relating to housing was never published. Through a combination of archival information held at the Yale University Art Gallery and new fieldwork with the Mission Franco-Syrienne de Doura-Europos my book re-evaluates the houses of the site. Integrating architecture, artefacts, and textual evidence, this study examines ancient daily life and cultural interaction and includes a consideration of houses that were modified for use by the Roman military.


The houses of Dura were, in some cases, occupied over several generations, so we have not only the evidence of their final form, but also of their use and adaptation over a long period. Houses were passed down within families, divided between kin, sold, left to become ruinous, or transformed into quarters for Roman soldiers. The houses were living structures, being constantly maintained and modified, and parts of their biographies can be traced in these architectural modifications.

More from Dr. Baird on Dura Europos is here and links. And there's lots more on Dura Europos here, here, and, sadly, here and links.