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Arches

 
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Meresankh
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:59 am    Post subject: Arches Reply with quote

Here's something that's been bugging me for quite a while. I seem to recall a TV programme some time ago, of which I only caught a part, which claimed that the Ancient Egyptians could build arches, and actually showed some examples. Now, I'd always understood that arches were first introduced into architecture by the Romans, and I must admit, I've never seen a piece of Egyptian architecture that involved arches.

Can anyone shed any light on this?
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I remember that. I thought too that the Romans did arches first. Apparently, these arches are in the tomb of Hashepsut. You know, the big temple?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had never thought about that.

I looked at the Deir-el Bahari temple and I can't find any arches there.

In a book by Miroslav Verner about the pyramids I did find a picture of a pyramid-shaped chapel in the New Kingdom cemetary of Deir el Medina. This chapel does have a small arch shaped "window".
I can't see how it's constructed, because the outside is plastered over. So I'm not sure it was made using the "capstone construction" the Romans later used.

The large temples are all pretty rectangular shaped. Even the openings carved in the tombs are usually rectangular I think. And I think a carved arch in the rock doesn't really count.
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Philip Arrhidaeus
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Midbrick arches or vaults can be seen in the grainstores of the Ramesseum.
Stone vaults in the tomb chapels of the divine consorts at Medinet Habu.

Also:
The Encyclopedia of Ancient Architecture, Dieter Arnold
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Meresankh
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I recall seeing pictures of the ramesseum now. It seems, though, that the only arches Egyptians built were small ones constructed of mudbrick. So I suppose the accolade of being the first to build large stone arches still goes to the Romans.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was my understanding that the chambers that contain the arched vaults was built by the Romans, to be used as graineries for troops stationed there.
These arches are constucted, not as free-standing arches, but as tunnels, or vaulted, roofs. I think the Romans must be given credit for the building of the true arch.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a common misconception about arches, so don't be surprised. The Egyptians were building arches of mud brick long before the Roman civilization even existed. The Romans did in fact add on to many pre-existing temples, but look at enough photos of temples and you will see arches that were part of constructs that considerably predate the Roman period.
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