Building Between the Two Rivers: An Introduction to the Building Archaeology of Ancient Mesopotamia
By Stefano Anastasio
Archaeopress Archaeology, 978-1-78969-603-5, $48 pb.
Reviewed by Jane Waldron Grutz on March 10, 2021
Essential reading for the archeologist, Stefano Anastasio’s book will also appeal to anyone interested in how and why building techniques invented thousands of years ago still form the basis of architectural planning today. Designed to help budding archeologists determine the age and possible use of ancient buildings, Stefano Anastasio’s authoritative guide traces the evolution of architectural techniques from the 10th millennium BCE to the fourth century BCE. Beginning with a survey of the natural resources of ancient Mesopotamia, Anastasio goes on to compare the particular qualities of such building materials as brick, stone, wood, mortars and even metal and, with the help of detailed illustrations, shows the multiple ways these materials were used to erect walls, lay foundations and create serviceable roofs. He also demonstrates how with the development of the arch, “a huge technological innovation,” buildings became more stable, more spacious and far more beautiful.