By G. R. H Wright
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Extra info for Ancient Building in South Syria and Palestine
During the Chalcolithic Age (? 45oo-3ooo) the metropolitan settlement of the southern region (accor~ing to present knowledge) must be reckoned Tuleilat el Ghassul near the mouth of the Jordan, on the west bank just to the north of the Dead Sea. 34 This extensive area now marked out by subsequent erosion as a series of small hillocks (Tuleilat = little tells) is now thought to have been originally a very large tell covering ca 40 hectares! Although the basic building material is mud (handformed "bun" shaped bricks ca 30cms in diameter 35 ) the house plans entirely parallel those at Byblos showing that a uniform design tradition spread throughout Syria-Palestine.
This covered an area of 20oom 2 (although not necessarily at any one time) and evidences that communities of men, say 200-300 strong, were living together in open country outside caves. e. seasonal or auxilliary occupation outside the entrance. 9 These dwellings which have been found in some numbers at various sites during the Natufian period, constitute a very standardised and distinct building type. 1 0 The ground is hollowed to a depth of half a metre or more over a roughly circular plan of about 2-7m diameter.
Such a complex must have presented an appearance virtually identical with groups of stone huts surviving in the Shetlands until recently. 2 0 As opposed to this in the latter phases the requirements of a differentiated society were met by architectural solutions of rectangular form. The most salient form taken has not as yet been discovered elsewhere but it must exist. 5m. The massive cross wall piers have been seen as designed to support a first floor staging so that what remains are cellar apartments with a superstructure now disappeared over the lateral cells, the corridor being unroofed as a light well-in short sleeping above, work and storage below.