Ancient Jericho: A Walled Oasis

Creative Commons The site of Jericho, just north of the Dead Sea and due west of the Jordan River, is one of the oldest continuously lived-in cities in the world. By Dr. Senta German / 08.08.2015 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford A Natural Oasis Tell es-sultan, Jerico archaeological site[…]

Ancient City Walls and Barriers

A section of Hadrian’s Wall near Carlisle / Photo by zoonabar, Flickr, Creative Commons Walls have traditionally been built for defense, privacy, and protection. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 09.02.2009 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Introduction The English word ‘wall’ is derived from the Latin, ‘vallus’ meaning ‘a stake’ or ‘post’ and designated the wood-stake and earth[…]

The Audience Hall of Darius and Xerxes in Persepolis

Growth of the Achaemenid Empire under different kings / Wikimedia Commons The great audience hall of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes presents a visual microcosm of the Achaemenid empire. By Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker / 01.24.2016 Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies Binghamton University Introduction Kylix depicting a Greek hoplite slaying a Persian inside, by[…]

The Medieval Cathedral: Of Light and Stone

Examining the close interdependence of medieval science, technology and religion: the Cathedral. By Dr. Hans Peter Broedel Graduate Director, Associate Professor of History University of North Dakota Cathedrals are my favorite memorial of medieval Europe—soaring high into the air, their huge vaults seemingly almost weightless upon thin stone pillars, glowing with the radiant light of[…]

Finely-Worked Stone in Incan Architecture

Typical imperial Inca trapezoid windows from the sacred precinct of Coricancha, Cuzco, c. 1438 CE / Photo by Pedro Szekely, Flickr, Creative Commons A spectacular blend of geometrical and natural forms. By Mark Cartwright / 03.12.2014 Historian Introduction Inca architecture includes some of the most finely worked stone structures from any ancient civilization. Inca buildings[…]

Yearning for Rome in the Medieval Romanesque

South transept of Tournai Cathedral, Belgium, 12th century / Wikimedia Commons The Romanesque style appeared to be a continuation of the Roman tradition of building, albeit a much simplified and less technically competent version. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Romanesque architecture is the term that describes the architecture of[…]

The Graeco-Roman-Etruscan Marvel that Was Pompeii

Forum, looking toward Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii Pompeii was not always a Roman town. By the mid-sixth century BCE, both Etruscans and Greeks had settled in the area. By Dr. Francesca Tronchin / 09.02.2018 Independent Scholar of Classical Art and Archaeology Preserved under Volcanic Ash Pompeii may be famous today, with millions of tourists visiting each[…]

Uruk: The Birth of Architecture and Urban Life

Detail of a relief at Persepolis showing a procession of subject peoples bringing gifts characteristic of their homelands as tribute for the Persian king A great transformation in human life took place in ancient Mesopotamia with the rise of the city of Uruk. By Dr. Margarete Van Ess Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology Deutsches Archäologisches[…]

Landscape Management around Angkor Wat

Photo by Stephen Bugno, Flickr, Creative Commons Conserving the landscape around Angkor Wat in the face of rapid development. By William Dunbar / 07.22.2016 Senior Communications Director United Nations University Introduction Fishing is one form of livelihood diversification during northern Cambodia’s dry season. Photo: William Dunbar/UNU-IAS It was January and the middle of Cambodia’s dry[…]

The Wooden Churches of Medieval Norway

Heddal Stave Church (Creative Commons) These historic churches feature elaborate carvings that mix Christian and Viking symbols. By Jennifer Billock / 11.14.2017 Starting in the Middle Ages, when Norway became a Christian country, former Vikings-turn-Christians built immense cathedrals and churches to honor the new religion—all made entirely from wood rather than the typical stone construction[…]

Monuments of the Neolithic European Landscapes

Silbury Hill Neolithic mound. It stands 30 metres high and 160 metres wide, and comprises half a million tonnes of chalk. It is non-megalithic, but still a huge accomplishment. Copyright © Stu Smith 2013 – Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped In the Neolithic there were no maps. However, most times people[…]

Otto Wagner and the Architecture of Postal Savings Bank

Otto Wagner, Postal Savings Bank, Vienna, 1904-06 and 1910-12 “What is impractical can never be beautiful.” – Otto Wagner By Dr. Elizabeth Merrill / 11.28.2015 Historian of Art and Architecture A truly modern architecture In his 1896 manifesto Modern Architecture, Wagner expressed his ideal of practical and efficiently designed architecture. The purpose of beauty, he[…]

Art and Architecture of Southeast Asia before 1200 CE

An ancient wall painting depicting the awakening of the Buddha Taṇhaṅkara in Upali Thein temple, Bagan, Myanmar / Photo by Jacklee, Wikimedia Commons The art and architecture of Southeast Asia was heavily influenced by Indian religions and artistic styles. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.12.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Sculpture in Southeast Asia Overview: Influences[…]

Native South American Art and Architecture before 1300 CE

Machu Picchu Exploring the work of South American indigenous people’s before colonization. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 08.12.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Ceramics in Early South America The ceramic objects of the Paracas, Nazca, and Moche communities of Peru vary in artistic forms and were important cultural artifacts. Like the Tiwanaku and Waki people of[…]

A Very Brief Introduction to Gothic Architecture

View from north-east of Reims Cathedral (High Gothic) / Photo by G.Garitan, Wikimedia Commons By Valerie Spanswick / 08.08.2015 Freelance Writer, History of Art and Architecture Forget the association of the word “Gothic” to dark, haunted houses, Wuthering Heights, or ghostly pale people wearing black nail polish and ripped fishnets. The original Gothic style was actually developed[…]

Ornament in Contemporary Iranian Architecture

The Āmeri House is a historic house in Kashan, in Isfahan Province, in Iran / Photo by Mastafameraji, Wikimedia Commons Examining the status of ornamental practices in contemporary Iranian architecture.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Fatemeh Ahani, Dr. Iraj Etessam, and Dr. Seyed Gholamreza Islami / 12.28.2017 Ahani: Department of Art and Architecture, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University Etessam: Department[…]

The Sacred and the Sensual: Experiencing the Medieval Eroticain Temples of Khajuraho, India

Various statues carved on the temple walls depicting the Indian Gods in various moods. / Photo by Ankit Saha, Wikimedia Commons While most temples in India are considered to be sacred sites for pilgrimage and worship, a group of twenty-two temples at Khajuraho are known for the thousands of erotic carvings that saturate its exterior[…]

Public Spaces of Xi’an: Balancing Past and Future

Wikimedia Commons The emerging field of public history in Xi’an is essential to the city’s identity. By Luke Stanek / 09.26.2016 Council on East Asian Studies Yale University In cities like Xi’an, with such rich historical traditions, the People’s Republic of China faces the task of reckoning with history. In order to establish where China is going,[…]

Urban Theory and Performative Streetscapes

dwell.com Looking at the urban social history of Accra through the singular Oxford Street, part of the city’s most vibrant and globalized commercial district. By Dr. Ato Quayson / 09.03.2014 Professor of Literature University of Toronto The news caused ripples on ghanaweb.com, the Ghanaian website that carries information and news on the country for both locals and those[…]

Caryatid Columns of Ancient Greece

A detail of the south porch of the Erechtheion temple on the Athenian acropolis. The building was constructed between 421 to 406 BCE to house the ancient wooden cult statue of Athena and as a shrine to various local deities including Erechtheus. / Photo by Dennis Jarvis, Flickr, Creative Commons The term Caryatid first appears in the 4th century BCE and[…]

Bronze Age Mycenaean Art and Architecture

The Lion Gate at Mycenae / Photo by Andreas Trepte, Wikimedia Commons The art and architecture of Mycenaean citadel sites reflects the society’s war-like culture and its constant need for protection and fortification. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Mycenaean Architecture Introduction Mycenaean culture can be summarized by its architecture, whose remains[…]

Bronze Age Minoan Art and Architecture

The North Portico in Knossos, Crete, Greece / Photo by Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons The Protopalatial period of Minoan civilization (1900 to 1700 BCE) and the Neopalatial Period (1700 to 1450 BCE) saw the establishment of administrative centers on Crete and the apex of Minoan civilization, respectively. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 07.14.2018 Historian[…]

The Late Medieval Art of Domenico Ghirlandaio at the Church of Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella (Leon Battista Alberti was responsible for the façade, completed in 1470) By Dr. Sally Hickson / 08.09.2015 Associate Professor of Art History University of Guelph A treasure house of Renaissance art The Church of Santa Maria Novella, adjacent to the train station of the same name, is a treasure-house of Florentine art of[…]