This research is a comparative analysis of some aspects of domestic units from two Old Babylonian period sites along the Euphrates River which have remarkable similarities (See Ill. 1).
Cuneiform contracts have been discovered at Terqa in domestic units dated to the Khana period which have helped illuminate the social and economic status of the owners.6 The contracts mention a certain Puzurum as buyer; hence the whole complex is entitled the House of Puzurum. The original size of the domestic units involved is not known, since only portions of eight rooms have been preserved.7 At least two (and possibly three) separate houses have been articulated. Four rooms of Puzurum's house have survived, which are only 40 square meters in their layout, with only two complete rooms.
There has been a preliminary investigation of the over fifty texts that have been uncovered, dating from the 26th year of Samsu-iluna (c. 1723 B.C.) to the 18th or 19th year of Ammisaduqa (c. 1627 B.C.).10 They were found in private houses and in the mayoral residence, and included letters, judicial texts, administrative texts, cultic texts, and distribution lists. The image which they furnish of Haradum is of a small enclosed village with an administration, elders, and a mayor. The letters attest to local commerce, riverboat traffic, the sale of wool, agricultural products, and slaves. The onomastic data show a mixed population, with a preponderance of West Semitic names. Haradum was destroyed after little more than a century, apparently either by nomads or the site may have been a victim of the inundation by the Euphrates.
Some conclusions about the nature and function of each of the individual rooms can be made by studying the distribu- tional analysis of artifacts found inside the rooms.12 The layout of A1 was found complete; at least six usuable floors were found.(See Ill. 6) The earliest floor found had large fragments of fallen brick and wood pieces coming from shelving in the room and the roof itself. A rectangular bin was found along with two hearths.13 Remains of large sherds, a door socket, baked bricks, large sherds, and two bathtubs were found lying on the floor and probably stored as such. However, few usuable items were found on the living floor itself.14 In sum, the variety of items, amount of broken and discarded objects, and the random scattering of items establishes that this room was most likely used for dead storage, somewhat like an attic.
A2 had nearly a complete layout, and was about 1 square meter larger than A1. Although the room had some fallen roof debris resulting from the fire, there was not nearly as much as in A1.15 Five burials and a bin were found but all were associated with the reoccupation of the house. In fact, no permanent installations were found that were associated with the room before the fire. A number of the goblets and other baked clay items found in the room were also associated with the burials. Since no structures were found with the burials, it was probably not a burial complex.16 Although the function of this room is more difficult to determine, the items found in the room before the destruction connote a usable storage area, as most of the items were unbroken and were stored in a systematic way.
Like the other rooms, the layout of room A3 was not found complete.(See Ill. 7) Moreover, since its walls did not bond with any of the walls of the other rooms (there was thus no direct access with the other rooms of House A), there is a possibility that it was not even part of the same house. A3 had a large amount of burnt roofing material on the living floor of the room. A small bowl burial was found in A3, the only one directly associated with the occupation of the house before the fire. No permanent installations, however, were found. Most items found in A3 were lying on the living floor of the room (or leaning on another object on the floor). Very few items were found in higher elevations above the floor, except for fallen roof debris which was found interspersed among the objects. The largest percentage of objects were mainly ceramic vessels (49 - the most of any room) and stone tools (21), many of which were still in place on the floor. The variety of ceramic objects suggests a kitchen or pantry area.17 This is not, however, certain, since as much as fifty percent of the layout of the room has been eroded away, as the room is directly on the cliff overlooking the Euphrates.
Evidenced by the length of its walls, the largest room was A4. Like the other rooms, it was not complete in its layout. A4 was probably an open area since it had little evidence of burnt roofing material and fallen brick (except near the doorway which connected it with A1) and there was more erosion on the inside of the walls than in the other rooms of the house. Both the walls and floors were heavily scorched by the fire. Since an open area required more repair work, this room had the most floors or usage surfaces. For example, one floor had been repaired with small stones, while a wall had been repaired with sherds, padded mud plaster, and tablet fragments. This room had a rectangular bin, a hearth, a partition or bench, and an oven, all of which were items used in an open courtyard. However, A4 had fewer artifacts in comparison to the other rooms in House A. Most of these were either epigraphic in nature or ceramic vessels. None of the present rooms afforded enough circulation to have been considered as living rooms. Thus, one can postulate that there was at least one or two living compartments on the other side of the courtyard.
Although the owner of House B is unknown, it will be discussed here since it was adjacent to Puzurum's house. B1 is the only room in House B with a complete layout. Some walls were only about 20-30 centimeters high because of a large Islamic period hollow which dislocated some of the material inside of the rooms, leaving only about a vertical meter of Khana period material. One semi-circular bin was found, as well as a variety of utilitarian objects found in one corner of the room. These items included a cylindrical jar, a ring stand, a grinding stone, two bronze points, and a cuneiform text. The room was probably used as a storage compartment.18 The layout of B2 was not complete. The extant floor area was about 3 meters squared and had about 40 objects. Many stone and ceramic items were found, but no installations. There were no traces of roofing material in this room. The layers above the floor were much harder than in the roofed rooms; thus it is possible that this was an open area.19 Only a small portion of the layout of A3 was found, thus nothing certain can be said concerning its function. Likewise, the layout of B4 was also not complete. For its extant area (about 4 sqm) it had only 17 artifacts, also explained by the existence of the Islamic period hollow in the area of B4 near B1. Like B2, there was little or no fallen roof material and the layers above the floors were compact. A small fire pit was found in B4, suggesting an open area.
Room A1 was also significant because of its many epigraphic remains (although a few were found in other rooms).20 A few different types of documents were found, including ten sale contracts. There were some administrative documents, two name lists, a letter between two brothers concerning barley, and a text concerning the sale of goods. As stated, the primary individual named in most of the contracts was Puzurum, son of Namashum. Four of his brothers, two nephews, a son, and possibly two grandsons are mentioned, most of whom are listed as witnesses on the contracts.21 Puzurum was likely an independent property owner, owning a household and arable land outside the city.22 There is no evidence of his having any precise obligations to the palace or temple, although there is one text concerning Puzurum and a loan from the temple of Shamash. Many of the transactions of Puzurum seemed to have been with relatives. He probably did not conduct business at his residence based upon the modest size of his house and the domestic nature of the extant rooms. Puzurum was a purchaser of real estate (fields, and possibly gardens), a moneylender, debtor, and maybe even a slave owner. Because of its small size, Puzurum likely lived in House A with his immediate family.
There are only a few installations remaining in House 2 at Haradum. In the courtyard (1) are a tannur (diameter .75 cm) in the north-central portion of the room, fragments of mortar to its left, and a cavity for an oven in the far northwest corner. There is an infant burial under the living floor in the northeast corner of one of the living rooms (5). In Room 9 was a fragment of a cup-shaped basin and a portion of a terracotta pipe (also found in Room 7).
The artifacts found in House 2, as in Puzurum's house, are modest in nature. There are two small terracotta toy chariots in Room 2, and a miniature boat in Room 8. A small amount of metal pins, bracelets, bone needles, and bitumen were found in Room 2. Assorted stone items were found in most of the rooms, including weights, grindstones, grinders, polishers, and flint.
Mark W. Chavalas
Dept. of History
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI 54601, firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Louis Aia Information Page
Comments to: Dr. Michael Fulleremail@example.com