Uruk Visualisation Project: Building E
About the project

Uruk/Warka, situated in modern-day Iraq, is one of the first cities in the world, and was populated almost without interruption for over 5,000 years – from the 4th millennium BCE to the 1st millennium CE. Uruk is famous for the invention of cuneiform writing at the end of the 4th millennium, the so-called “late Uruk period”. One of the architectural layers of ‘Untersuchungsareal’ 5 in the centre of Uruk carries the number 11, which consists mainly of two buildings.

We scientifically reconstructed and visualised Building E as part of the TOPOI-Project ‘XXL – Monumentalized Knowledge. Extra-large Projects in Ancient Civilizations’, in close cooperation with the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin. The near rectangular building measures around 57 x 57 m. It was not preserved completely, but the ground plan could be reconstructed due to symmetrical reasons. Where the building was preserved, it was so up to a height of two courses of mud-brick. It basically was constructed as a combination of four architectural wings, which enclosed a rectangular courtyard. The court walls and outer walls were structured by an extraordinary pillar-niche-system.

In one corner of Building E was a basin constructed into the ground. The function is unclear. Inside, many jug caps were found and the floor, consisting of limestone was added at a later point, so that the basin originally was deeper. It is unlikely, that the basin was a water basin, as the mud-brick walls and the limestone floor were not isolated with asphalt.

The building was painted with a bright ocherish yellow colour on the outer and inner walls. This sets Building E apart from most other buildings in Uruk. It is not certain, if the central middle-halls where constructed with a heightened roof or not. The fireplaces inside the central halls however point to a heightened roof, as the rooms would need proper air circulation.

Literature
Eichmann, R. 2007: Uruk. Architektur I. Von den Anfängen bis zur frühdynastischen Zeit (=AUWE 14), Textteil und Beilagen, Rahden.

Project
3D visualisation, scientific reconstruction, infographics
Client
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Eichmann, Oriental Institute, German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin
Status
Completed in 2014
Overview over Building E from the South. Alternative 2 was constructed with heightened roofs over the central middle-halls, to ensure air circulation in the rooms with fireplaces.
Detail of a corner of Building E. The ocherish yellow colour was painted on the outer and inner walls of the building. The pillar-niche-system of the buildings corner is most elaborate.
Detail of the basin in room 1 of Building E. One can see the mud-brick walls and limestone floor. The function of the basin is not certain.