Experimental Archaeology at Alalakh

Experimental Archaeology

Replication of a LBA Kiln 

  Kiln Gallery

Making Mud Bricks

   Mud Bricks Gallery

Making Tandir

   Tandir Gallery

Burn the Brick

Burn the House Down

   Burn the House Gallery

   Burn the House Video

Ceramic Fabric Exp.

The Mud House





An important arm of the excavations at Tell Atchana (Alalakh) has been the on-going series of experimental projects. Testing our understanding of ancient construction techniques and the social dynamics involved, the experiments have targetted such topics as the division of labor and energy expenditures that were required to keep a Bronze Age capital city alive. Four experiments were designed to understand mud brick (adobe) construction techniques during the 2008 excavation season. These experimental archaeology projects consisted of documenting the production of Bronze Age-sized mud bricks, a bread oven (tandir) and the effects of burning down a model mud brick house. A great amount of information was acquired in the understanding of mud brick construction, the scales of energy spent, and the effects of these activities on daily life. The fourth experimental project, an investigation of the ceramic production on site, was initiated by our ceramic specialists. They sampled various clay and temper inclusions from sources around the site. The sampled raw materials were then mixed at different ratios in order to determine local pottery production techniques.

Students and specialists were all actively involved in these experimental projects and were able to obtain a hands-on three dimensional concept of ancient production processes. These projects provided an excellent opportunity for participating students to better understand the archaeological contexts during excavation and aided them in the interpretative processes.


Murat Akar, Ben Claasz Coockson, Jerolyn E. Morrison & Mara T. Horowitz