What kind of life was there in ancient times? How were building techniques used? These questions have always been intriguing. At the same time, even if we do not know it completely, some information has come to light thanks to the research of scientists and archaeologists.
We can find some information and predictions about the architecture of those times today. When we look at it, we see that the information has not changed completely, it has developed until today. So some knowledge and techniques are the foundations of today.
City plans developed in ancient times still set an example today. The urban pattern arising from the needs and daily life of the people can be seen. The ancient city of Chichen Itza in Mexico is a good example of these cities.
In the layout of this ancient city, the houses are together and intersect with the main road and social spaces. It connects many functions such as the marketplace, baths, pyramids, and sports fields with intersecting streets. It refers to today’s grid system metropolitan cities.
Environmental factors and security needs dictated settlements in ancient times. Features such as proximity to a clean water source, the fertility of the soil, suitable environment for animal care, safe and sheltered environment are the most important factors for location selection.
Machu Picchu, located in Peru, is an ancient city built about 500 years ago. Access to this city is very difficult even today. Astonishingly, a developed city was founded here 500 years ago. They had many reasons to choose the location of this city. There is a river surrounding it on three sides. It is surrounded by cliffs. It has vegetable and grain fields and has fertile livestock pastures. This city, which can be reached by hidden roads and bridges, is a perfect area to be protected from enemy attacks.
Ancient Age Technologies and Materials
Contrary to popular belief, there were advanced mathematical knowledge and measurement techniques in ancient times. Apart from basic materials such as paper and pencil, there are some findings that tools such as rulers, set squares, compasses were used.
On the other hand, unfortunately, all of the transportation and construction work had to be done by human hands. Pulling materials by using tree trunks and rope was one of the most common methods. The principles of the machines we use in building construction today come from such techniques.
Ancient Rome left many technological ideas to the present day. For example, the first examples of underfloor heating technology can be seen in some buildings in Rome. After laying the rocks on the road for paving, they built smooth and solid roads by crushing them. Nowadays, we are crushing the roads we poured asphalt with a road roller.
They chose their settlements considering natural resources. As a result, building materials would consist of local materials. Materials such as stone, wood, clay, adobe are the most common. These materials are still used today but they are used in an improved form.
Çatalhöyük, built 9000 years ago, is one of the cities with the most successful construction style built in that period. Çatalhöyük is located in Turkey. Houses were built with bricks made of adobe. In these buildings, where they developed the first examples of the use of plaster, they used to plaster the outside of the brick walls to protect them from bad weather conditions.
There were no streets between the houses. It was built adjacent to each other and formed a courtyard in the middle. The courtyard was ideal for animal shelter and storage areas. They used the roof to enter both houses and courtyards. From the roof, the stairs were descending into the houses.
Likewise, to pass from the exterior to the inner courtyard, it was passed through the roof and descended with a ladder. Since the roofs were in the form of flat terraces, they also formed an area of use. Since the houses were adjacent, they could stay warm in winter and cool in summer. This technique continues to inspire us in terms of air conditioning.
One of the genius examples we can see in ancient times is Petra in Jordan. Since it is established in a rocky area, we see very beautiful examples of stonework. High pillars and roof decorations carved with magnificent craftsmanship are outstanding. The buildings are carved into the rocks and the entrance to these rocks is decorated with aesthetic elements. Petra, which was entered through narrow passages, was very protected against enemy attacks.
Petra was set up in the desert. However, he never ran out of water. It was a great waterworks. There was a stream nearby. The people of Petra built canals to bring water into the city. They also built cisterns and dams for periods of low rainfall.