Short Report on the 1999 Season

by Hans Georg K. Gebel and Bo Dahl Hermansen


Short Report on the 1999 Season

General Features of the Architecture

The groundplan of the settlement so far implies an "egalitarian" social structure: multi-roomed "courtyard" houses densely neighbour each other in a pueblo-type manner , without evidence of special buildings within the 400m² excavated so far. Access to most rooms was probably by ladders through openings in the ceilings and roofs, for only rarely were rooms connected by doors and windows.

Outer walls were shared and appear to have had no doorways. The general house plan is organized around a large irregularly shaped central room or courtyard, which would have been the only room suitable for most household activities. (In two-storied houses this central space could have been roofed in the basement and open in the second floor). However, this space was surrounded on three or four sides by smaller rooms that could hardly have served any other function than storage (in the basements). The plans we have mostly represent the basements or cellars, whereas many social and productive/processing activities would have taken place on the second floor. There is some evidence that the plan of the second floor partly followed that of the ground floor. Some rooms within houses, both on the ground floor and the first floor, were connected by shallow doorways and other kinds of openings. In the case reported below (cf. 3), doorways at the ground floor and first floor were connected by a built staircase: otherwise houses are expected to have functioned with a system of ladders connecting storeys.
All evidence so far allows us to expect extended families living in the houses. One of us (HGKG) calculates that 50-60 families lived in Ba'ja (provided that only half of the Ba'ja slopes were occupied by densely built houses, 0.6-0.7ha). Depending on child mortality, the proportion of family members herding outside, etc., this would result in some 400-500 people living in Ba'ja.




Fig. 3. Groundplans excavted in Area D in 1999. <field record by B. Borowski, archaeological interpretation: H.G.K. Gebel and B. Borowski)

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