Ancient Greek Building Discovered: Some Assembly Required

Archeologists have unearthed an ancient Greek building (c. 6th Century, BC) with an unusual twist: It hasn’t been assembled yet. Even better, the building was discovered with detailed assembly constructions, just like modern Ikea furniture.

From the article:

“The team working at Torre Satriano near the southern city of Potenza described the structure as a luxury, Greek-style building “similar to a temple”.

The central body of the building was topped by a sloping roof with red and black decorations, nearly every part of which is inscribed with detailed directions on how it slots together with other components.”

An adjoining side structure boasts a colonnade marking the entranceway, reported the National Geographic Storica history magazine in its latest edition.The roof was designed to filter rainwater down decorative panels, known as cymatiums, with projections designed to protect the wall below from dripping water.

“All the cymatiums and several sections of frieze also have inscriptions relating to the roof assembly system,” explained the Director of Basilicata University’s Archaeology Schoool Massimo Osanna.

“So far, around a hundred inscribed fragments have been recovered, with masculine ordinal numbers on the cymatiums and feminine ones on the friezes”.

The end result is a kind of instruction booklet, with every component identified by its own symbol and, as in modern systems, categorized as masculine or feminine depending on how it fits together with other parts.

“The characteristics of these inscriptions indicate they date back to around the 6th century BC, which tallies with the architectural evidence suggested by the decoration,” explained Osanna.

The team also discovered that the decorative features of the Torre Satriano building were extremely similar to ornamentation on another structure unearthed near Braida di Vaglio, a town not far away.

“The similarity in the use of these decorations indicates the same origin, possibly the same mold was used,” explained Osanna.

Both sites were on the fringes of the area colonized by Ancient Greece. This has led the team to speculate that a consequent fashion for all things Greek among local nobility prompted an enterprising local builder to start churning out affordable, DIY structures.”

This find is pretty freaking cool, it shows how inventive the Greeks when it came to mass producing buildings, and is very much in the modern form of modular homes. Even better: for those of us that learned about the Industrial Revolution being the origin of the concept of “interchangeable parts” we now know that the idea and implementation of such thinking actually came about 1200 years earlier. Fucking awesome.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on April 21, 2010.

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