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Throughout the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt the cylindrical seal showed a continuous design of even density. Seals designs were influenced also by Mesopotamia. Imitations of Mesopotamian cylinder seals have been found. Mainly cylindrical seals showed Brocade Style. Seals showed interlocked and continuous designs. Crossing figures were piled up in the friezes.
Stone was too rare a material for the Mesopotamians, everything was made in clay and mud and mud was used for a variety of purposes for pots, tablets, bricks and gutters. In Mesopotamia of later times metal seems to have become the leading craft and influenced work in this matter in the whole region. On the opposite in Egypt as well as in Byblos stone carving was the leading craft. In Iron Age the plano-convex stone was in use flat on one side and curved on the other and Byblos had a reputation to have had great stone workers and it is said that they participated in the construction in the temple of Jerusalem in the times of King Solomon. They it is been said according to the technique used found in the stones in the temple of Jerusalem that the stone workers of Byblos contributed to the construction of the temple.
The figurines of Byblos were cast in copper as early as the Second Early Dynastic Period in Egypt. They have their body and limbs consisted of copper sheets hammered over a bitumen core. They are dull. They are modelled with the commonest Mesopotamian techniques and are of conventional works. Some are wearing only a triple girdle sometimes in gold leaf. They represent the God Reshef the weather-gods branding a weapon which symbolizes lightning. Some of these figurines were attached in sockets cut into the stone.
The sarcophagus of King Ahiram where the first alphabet was found engraved on it has a design likewise of Egyptian derivation. It seems also to show a Syro-Hittite influence. The border above the scenes is decorated with alternating lotus buds and flowers. The other long side of the sarcophagus shows a procession. The short sides of the sarcophagus are decorated with wailing women. The wailing at the funeral were rendered in Egyptian fashion. Un- Egyptian are the four supports of the sarcophagus with heads of lions. The style used in the design of the sarcophagus similar is seen on ivories with influence from Mesopotamia. It is said that this sarcophagus was a reused sarcophagus and rendered in a mix of styles and techniques.
Thousands of ivories found at Nimrud were produced in the Levant. It was suggested that the most probable craftsmen were the Phoenicians. The Egypt style ivories with influences from Mesopotamia found their way to Nimrud through the trading ports mostly Byblos. Thousand pieces of ivories were considered to be Phoenician in origin. All the ivories are typically Phoenician and share many iconographic and stylistic features. It was suggested they were made in a workshop in a single location considering the stylistic modes and techniques used holding the signature craft of the same workshop and the possibility that Byblos was involved in this is not ruled out. Between the years 1300BCE and 1100BCE a big activity in Ivory were noticed in Byblos. The ivory used at Nimrud is in the main elephant ivory. The use of ivory is associated with the idea of luxury. As Chinese armorial porcelain appealed to European aristocrats same was the Phoenician Ivories. Ivory was taken as booty or tribute. It is stated that the Assyrians valued ivory highly. Almost all of these ivories belonged to the Phoenician School of Ivory Carving and were a result of the Phoenicians use and adaptation of Egyptian motifs and it was a technique of carving and inlaying of the ivory. The Phoenician Ivory School can be further subdivided into three main areas mainly the Classical Phoenician group. Most of Ivories consisted of pieces of the same size. The types of furniture and equipment in ivory are almost identical but differ in purpose. Figures were decorated with polychrome inlays. Symmetry in the design was used. There is a remarkable repetition within these simplistic designs. These ivories belonged to the Ornate group. Details from the side of the sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos and the banquet scene are seen on some Ivories.
The house was quadrilateral subdivided by a grid like hash-like configuration with rooms on three or even four sides and open to the courtyard and a courtyard in the middle. The courtyard is where all the production activities happened included eating. The house inhabitants were usually around seven to ten members, rule-of-thumb of 10 m2 roofed-space per inhabitant. The rooms were mainly used as storage rooms. Most of the rest of the ground floor besides the courtyard consists of rooms designated specifically for storage. The courtyard is gained via an antechamber that separates it from the public space. The house had a partial upper story or half roofed supported by wooden columns and a wooden deck. The house served as an independent entity for trade activity by the house inhabitants, all the production was done in the courtyard, food processing, weaving, metal working . The inhabitants of the house were somehow involved in the trade of bulk commodities on a large scale. The second floor served for the gathering of men. Storage rooms that have no floor-level access were accessed through a high window or with a ladder from the upper floor. The upper floor was accessed by stairs located in an extremely narrow corridor. Elevation differences between adjacent spaces are slight. Only the courtyard was half-paved. Strict orthogonality was not respected.
Another variation is the T-Shaped house or the Front-Rooms house which may reflect a simplified version of the Courtyard House. This house type consists of a rectangular structure divided into three rooms. The forepart consists of a single room or a courtyard in which the entrance to the house in located. The back is usually divided into two parallel equally sized rooms with entrances from the front room or courtyard.
An Iron Age I Canaanite/Phoenician Courtyard House...
Authors: A. Gilboa, I. Sharon J. R. Zorn
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos 3300-2150BCE distribution of the Quarters/Neighborhoods
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos 2700-2150BCE Quarters/Neighborhoods M1
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos 2700-2150BCE Quarters/Neighborhoods M2
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos 2700-2150BCE Quarters/Neighborhoods M3
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos 2700-2150BCE Quarters/Neighborhoods M5
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P1
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P2
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P3
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P4
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P5
Map/Plan of the facilityCity of Byblos Early Bronze Age Quarters/Neighborhoods P7
Personal Adornment Beads were widely worn by both men and women in Egypt. Beads were an element of Late Bronze Age palatial gift exchange. Beaded jewelry was influenced by both Egyptian, Mycenaean and Mesopotamian styles. Trade are between the palaces in Egypt and the Mediterranean and the production of beaded jewelry in Phoenicia and Byblos included. Sources confirm the extensive use of beads in the Bronze Age Levant such as such as examples found on the Uluburun shipwreck. Beads in carnelian were common in Byblos. Beaded jewelry was widely worn by both men and women through the New Kingdom. Beads were also instrumental in signifying social status and possessed amuletic or religious value. The most known form of Egyptian beading is the Usekh. Beaded jewelry include necklaces single strands or multi-strands of beads, bracelets, girdles, anklets, earrings. Beads can be sewn onto cloth in colorful patterns.
During the second half of the eleventh century BCE a change in Phoenician architecture style and city planning occurred. The second major change to Phoenician architecture and city planning occurred during the Iron Age III. Phoenician settlements became well-planned cities which laid the axial foundations for the later Hellenistic and Roman cities with Hippodamian street plans. Most Phoenician cities share many similar characteristics. Cities of Phoenicia display signs of well organization and urban planning. Cities were divided into quarters which served different functions. Terraces were in use. Workshops and heavier industries such as metal working were located far from residential quarters in the rear of the settlement or close to the harbor. Commercial area were located near the city port. The harbor area housed warehouses.
Most of the major cities of Phoenicia utilized at least two harbors. Heavy ships may have had to off load goods onto lighter vessels that then made their way into the relative shallow basin. Archaeological and geo-archaeological evidence suggest that early harbor modifications date back to the Middle Bronze Age. Though the rise in sea level to the twelfth century BCE washed out and submerged these ports making them out of use and it is proposed that it is one of the reasons why Byblos lost its might as a commercial shipping center in the Iron Age because it lost its harbors. Some harbors like the big harbor of Byblos on the south of Byblos was a submerged port with installations for docking and quays under water. Quays and jetties were made of ashlar blocks and date to the pre-Classical period. It is proposed that the small port of Byblos for light vessels the actual fishing port today was made of natural reefs and may be gaps were intentionally left open between natural elements to allow currents to pass through the harbor basin for flushing any accumulated silt.
This temple type first appeared during the Bronze Age and is perhaps Byblos temple is the earliest example of this temple type. The Baalat temple complex displayed a structure resembling the Phoenician type. The walls were constructed in a technique previously unknown at Byblos featuring dressed stones laid horizontally imitating brick bonding. The temple displays foreign influences with a style known as the Hypostyle Temple. It is possible that the earliest structure was the larger rectangular hall that served as a hypostyle hall. The temple consisted of several units. The temple was built on a raised platform representing perhaps a Ziggurat. The main entrance set in the north-western corner accessed by stairs and the temple used the technique of a bent entry . The northern room was divided into two equal chambers that were most likely used for storage. The two northern room open to a large hall in which column bases were found. The southern part was divided into three rooms and it probably housed the offices of the temple administration and lodging of the staff of the temple. The plan resembling in plan a large private house. At a later phase a long hall was added from the south. This large hall may have been transformed into an open court. The temple contained circular basins of brick for ablution. The inner court was spacious and in the past one or two steps had led up to the plinth on where the shrine was placed. A table was used for the offerings. It can’t be excluded perhaps that the temple represented a two-floors temple resembling a Courtyard House.
We may refer to this temple plan as the pre-Classical Phoenician temple type. We note the special character of the bent-axis entry. The bent-entry temple first appeared during the early Bronze Age. In the western corner stood an altar. The sacred area consisted of a long room with the access from to the main entrance requires a 90° turn. It is suggested that the rooms may have served as living quarters or storage room or workshops. Part of the temple was paved with large rock slabs. Other common features included benches along the inner walls. Another possibility ties the western orientation of Phoenician temples around the Mediterranean to the cult of Astarte and the position of the planet Venus rather the solar cycle.