About household buildings medieval rural settlements

Bayramov M.C. (Lankaran State University)

About household buildings medieval rural settlements

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In written sources there is no information about the remains of household buildings of medieval rural settlements. The main source for the study of household buildings of the medieval rural settlements is remains of the constructions which found out during archaeological excavations. The current level of the archaeological excavations carried out in the medieval rural settlements does not allow us to create an overall picture of the residential houses, agricultural, public and religious buildings of the people. The main reason for this on the one hand is poorly researching of domestic constructions, on the other hand having been associated with the limited number of the remains of the buildings found out during archaeological excavations, with the exposure to destruction of the buildings. In most cases base, the remnants of the floor, or the top rows of the walls of the domestic, economic and production constructions were found out and studied during archaeological excavations (1, p.155).

Our main aim in this paper is to explore household buildings, determine their main characteristic features which found out during archaeological excavations. The most parts of the constructions found out in the medieval rural settlements consist of the residential houses. Thus, the residential houses are important cultural monuments which are the main residence of the people satisfing their necessary rest, economic, domestic and vital requirements. Compared with urban settlements residential houses of medieval rural settlements have been poorly studied (2, p.44).

Archeological excavations carried out in the medieval rural settlements have given an interesting material to explore types, the plan structure, characteristic features of the domestic constructions.

Depending on the existence of different types of building materials, the nature of the occupation of the population, on the natural and geographical conditions formed different types of residential buildings in separate regions of Azerbaijan.

In the construction of houses as a building material were used cobblestone, adobe brick and burnt brick, limestone, rock stone, wood, clay, reed, cane, stick, and so on(2, p.44).

As a rule, the foundation of residential houses were built of cob and cobblestone, breaks were filled with mud. The walls of buildings were built of various materials, mainly bricks and floors of the houses were land, plastered with clay and has been used ordinary mud as glue in building constructions.

The oldest means of clay has been used in construction was big cob bricks (merhre). During archaeological excavations even in the monuments of late Neolithic and Eneolithic period of Nakhchivan, Mugan, Mil-Karabakh, Ganja-Kazakh region were found residential and agricultural buildings built with big cob bricks. Cob bricks houses have been used for a few thousands of years so that they were primitive in terms of architecture and were cheap and easy to come to an end. In the plain areas, especially, in the southern regions of Azerbaijan cob bricks technique has not lost its importance until recently (2, p.39).

Remains of constructions built with cob bricks have been found out during archaeological excavations in the rural settlements of Mukhurtapa, I Gırag Kasaman. Foundation of the remains of construction have been found out in the rural settlement of Mukhurtapa were cob, walls built of adobe bricks. Foundation of the remains of construction consisting of 8 rows were built with width 50 cm, height 60 cm large cob bricks, walls with 29x25x5 cm standard size adobe brick mixture of straw. The length of remaining portion of the wall was 7meters, height 1,2-2meters (3, p.252).

The remains of big cob wall found out and cleaned in the rural settlement of I Gırag Kasaman covered with 30-35 cm ash layer was determined destroyed by fire. The big cob brick wall had a redbrick colour as a result of the acquisition of high-temperature fire. Length of the portion was 2 meters, height 25 cm. The floor has been preserved well. Part of it remained under the excavation wall. It was possible to determine the two layer of the floor. Each layer painted with the lime has a thickness of 3-5 cm (13, p.12).

 Some construction remains found in the rural areas of the Middle Ages were built with adobe bricks. The abundance of clay reserves and the technology is very simple to prepare adobe bricks created conditions use of it as a construction material in the most regions of Azerbaijan for centuries. Now in some regions of the republic is widely used of adobe bricks as a building material in the construction of residential or agricultural buildings. Unlike other building materials adobe brick has weak nature to transfer heat or cold for that houses built in this construction material was warm in winter, cool in summer.

During archaeological excavations in the medieval rural settlement of Garatapa was found out the remains of the wall was built of different sizes (38x38x12cm, 43x43x12) adobe bricks (4, p.195).

Some construction remains found in the rural settlements were the remnants of the middle Ages wand wicker houses. The walls of these houses were built of sticks and plastered with clay on both faces. The walls of these buildings were built with twigs and sticks elm, hazel, willow and other elastic properties of trees were thin and transferred the hot and cold weather (6, p.63-64).

Wand wicker houses were dwelled by economically disadvantaged and less privileged populations of the rural settlements. In ethnographic literature it is known that the light-weight construction wand wicker houses (reed, cane) have local-specific name in different regions of Azerbaijan and they have been used till the end of the nineteenth century and was also available in early twentieth century          (2, p.49).

The remains of the wand wicker houses of the eleventh century were found out in the rural settlement of Sarkartapa as a result of archaeological excavations. The house is 13 m long and rectangular in shape (7, p.192). The walls of the house were built of stick and cane and plastered on the both sides.  Along the edges of the floor there were well cane racks with size 8-20 cm. The floor was land and plastered with clay. Cone-shaped roof of the house was covered with reed. In the south-east of the residential house were situated household and economic sectors. During archaeological excavations were found pits, hearths and ovens here. Researching registered wells shows that they have been used for various purposes (5, p.92-93).

The remains of similar houses of IX-X centuries have been found at the rural settlement of Gıraq Kasaman I. Here it was not possible to determine the structural features of the building were used as a kitchen and storage which was destroyed by fire. The floor of the construction was land and plastered with clay. There were found five pillar wells when the floor was drilled. One of them was larger with a diameter of 2ç4 cm, depth of 30 cm. Diameters of other wells were 14-22 cm, depth-30-40 cm. The distinguishing feature of the residential house found in the rural settlement of Gıraq Kasaman was location storage-type construction in the south west side of the industrial-warehouse construction. The length of the storage was 2,4 m, width 0,8 m. During the excavations seven jugs filled with carbonized remains of food, 3 narrow-necked pots and 3 jugs were found in the storage (13, p.11-12).

Residential houses built with cobblestones also widespread in the rural settlements of Middle Ages.  This construction material was widespread especially in the rural settlements situated in the bank of the river. Remains of these buildings were uncovered and cleaned of IX-XII century’s layers of Sarkartapa and Sandıqtapa during archaeological excavations. The ruins of buildings made of cobblestone have also been found in the rural settlements Mukhurtapa, Seyidli, Turkyeri,  IV Qaflatapa. In some rural settlements people used cobblestone more in the foundation of the houses. The walls were built with adobe or baked-bricks.

In the twelfth century over the wand wicker house were built a sustainable residential house rectangular in plan in the rural settlement Sarkartapa. It consists of a room and combined it on the west side wood construction corridor. The living room area is 27,5 square meters. The south and east walls of it are relatively well protected. The western wall is completely destroyed. The thickness of the laying on the south and east walls are 60-70-cm. İn the center of the room, on the floor was found carbonized burning wood and 40×26 cm size cobblestone which was used as bases of column. The floor of the room and the corridor plastered with clay. The wood construction corridor which combined the room on the west side has been destroyed by fire. In the time when stone home has been built the domestic-agricultural construction was held a little in the south (7, p.193).

The remains of similar composition and structure-plan cobblestone houses were found out in the IX-X century’s layer of Sandiqtapa. The building was constructed with an ordinary cobblestone with clay. Its length 5,2 m, width is 5 m. The eastern wall of the house has been well maintained. Four rows of masonry height of 40 cm, width of 1-1,1 m well preserved. The floor was land and plastered with clay.  The domestic-agricultural construction was held a little to the south here as it was in Sarkartapa (5, p.96).

The foundations of constructions of residential houses found out in the layer of XI-XIII centuries of Sandiqtapa were built with cobblestone, walls with adobe- brick and burnt-brick, the floor was land. The residential houses found out in this construction layer are absolutely different. In this layer of the settlement were found out an investigated three-room and four-room homes with cmall courtyards. The rooms were square-shaped and have 28 square meters area. Hearths and economic wells had been found out in these houses.  Characteristic feature of these houses is the situation of the domestic purposes construction on the east side which used as a kitchen, paved with flat cobblestone the area between the living room and domestic construction(8, p.44-45).

As a construction material limestone and rock stone were also used in building residential houses in rural settlements. The remains of houses built with limestone were found out during archaeological investigations in the rural settlement Nohur of Shakhbuz region of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in the rural settlement Gumushlu of Shamakhi region. These houses are square and rectangular formats in plan. Unlike limestone and cobblestone rock stone as a rule, was used in raw and processed form.  The remains of these buildings were found in the rural settlements Gazanchi of Julfa region of Nakhchivan AR, in Dashtapa of Gusar region, in Kandyeri of Shamakhi region. The wall remains found in the rural settlement Kandyeri were built with raw rock stones with mixed lime mud (9, p.36; 10, p.159).

 Population had used of different sizes (18x18x4, 185x185x4, 19x19x4, 23x25x5, 23x23x25) square shaped baked bricks in the construction of residential houses as well as. Especially they have been found in the rural settlements of of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Ethnographic literature gives information that baked bricks were used in constructions from ancient times in Nakhchivan, in X-XII centuries it had mass character (2, p.41). In baked brick buildings which belonged by the characteristics of heating appliances, natural color, fine texture were assumed lived the wealthy and rich villagers.

The remains of buildings made of baked bricks have also been found in the rural settlements Turkyeri of Masallı region, Giziltapa, Mukhurtapa of Imishly region, Ilandag of Ardabil region and in the other rural settlements of Middle Ages.

Some of the buildings found out in the rural settlements consist of “cave houses” or “kuhul” houses. Semi-drilled this type houses found out in the rural settlements of Ardabil region of South Azerbaijan crumbled on the decline part of the hill in which situated rural settlement. It was said that this type houses used more as a religious purposes or khanagah in Middle Ages. The remains of the houses like cave typewere found in Ganza and Viyand-Kahralan rural settlements of Ardabil region as well (14, p.16).

Beside the residential houses and farm buildings production buildings and Tandirkhanas (Bakery houses-buildings where situated bread-ovens and hearths) take also place in the architecture of rural settlement. Bakery houses have a light wooden structure and about 5-8 square meters area. Bakery houses have been found and investigated during archaeological excavations in the Haciallili and I Giraq Kasaman rural settlements (12, p.6, 13, p.11).

The length of the remains of bakery house which was found out in Quadrats 3 of Excavation Site II of the rural settlement Haciallili was 5 m, width 3,5m. Here were found out the remains of bread-oven and a fragment of the jug which was used in the cooking process. During archaeological excavations in the depth of 65-90cm there was registered a few plasters and clay layer in the bakery. Finding on the edge of the plastered floor pits in 30 cm diameter and the coal fragments allows us to say that the bakery was had a very light wooden roofing which afterwards was destroyed by fire (12, p.7).

Carried out investigations in all regions of the Azerbaijan allows us to say that there was not standard principles in solution compositional-plan scheme of the construction of the rural settlement. In spite of social, religious and multi-room residential houses of urban areas of this period which were built of baked brick and stone, adobe brick houses, wand wicker homes, constructions built with cobblestone, big cob brick houses have dominated in the rural settlements.

Orographic structure of the area, the natural and climatic conditions, nature of local building materials as a factor exerted their influence on the types of houses and they differed from urban buildings with the primitive construction equipment, the plan compositions and weakness of architectural ornament. The absence of geometersic plan, not evenness of the walls give a reason to say that  unlike urban settlements, where the walls were laid neatly, in the rural settlements  the house is not built on the basis of the current drawing  and arbitrary.



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    About household buildings medieval rural settlements
    Written by: Lankaran State University
    Date Published: 03/31/2017
    Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_30.04.2015_4(13)
    Available in: Ebook