A Discussion of the House and Planning As the Links Between Societies and Civilizations: 7000 B.C.-A.D. 1

Smith, Alfred Joseph (2000) A Discussion of the House and Planning As the Links Between Societies and Civilizations: 7000 B.C.-A.D. 1. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The objective of this thesis is to examine and if possible demonstrate the connections and links, the interaction, between societies and civilizations in ancient times. I carefully considered how this could be achieved bearing in mind the questionable depth and veracity of our knowledge of prehistoric and historic societies and civilizations but particularly the prehistoric period. While there is, in one sense, a wealth of information in the structural remains and artefacts known to us yet we are deficient in our understanding of many ancient societies and civilizations. In the historical period we have the major problem of sieving the truth from the extant ancient writings which have been shown to contain inaccuracies, distortion of fact, bias, pure error, propaganda, embellishment, the list is almost endless. With these problems in mind I came to the conclusion that the best mode was to concentrate on what I consider are two of the essential building blocks in the evolution of humankind, the house and planning. In the house we have the architectural remains unearthed by archaeologists or, as in the earliest society I consider, the negative archaeological remains. I consider planning to be an inherent function in every human being and it is a function which continually shows change but one whose physical implementation can be seen in the archaeological remains. The final problem was the time-span of my survey and my view was that the wider the time-span the greater the field of comparison thus enhancing the level of proof The paradox was that this approach limited the societies and civilizations I could investigate to any great extent and possibly incurring the charge of bias in my selection but the constraints imposed left me no alternative. I decided the period to be covered by my study should be from 7000 B.C. to A.D. 1 with the emphasis of my study on the Graeco-Roman world. The two earliest societies I consider do not lie within either the Grecian or Roman worlds but each incorporate not only reasonably clear signs of planning but also architectural features such as the long-house and the courtyard which are to be seen, as I indicate, in future societies and civilizations. I treat the Grecian and Roman worlds separately but draw comparisons between each, where appropriate, both in architecture not only of the house but also public buildings and in planning. While I concentrate on the house and planning I refer where it is necessary to those events and factors which bring their influence to bear either directly or indirectly on the house and planning I believe there is a correlation between the house and planning but the factor necessary to express this is the architect, a person we cannot identify in the prehistoric period and in the historic period is really not much better known to us. I have considered Vitruvius and his treatise and while it gives us some insight to the architect of his day I have not really advanced my attempt to know and understand how knowledge and skills were passed on. The skills and knowledge of the prehistoric architects were really exceptional as is evidenced when we look at the architectural remains of their achievements; there is the possibility that the accumulated knowledge of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations was not lost in the Dark Age and simply re-emerged in the Archaic and Classical periods in Greece but this is an assumption on my part. I believe I have proven my hypothesis that there is an interaction and there are recognisable connections between societies and civilizations, that ancient civilizations contribute their knowledge and skills to the further evolution of future societies and civilizations. I am not aware of any earlier arguments adopting this approach but I think these connections do exist and may warrant further research.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Elizabeth A Moignard
Keywords: Classical studies, Ancient history
Date of Award: 2000
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2000-76183
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2019 09:15
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2019 09:15
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/76183

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