While employed at Flad & Associates of Wisconsin I had the opportunity to be project engineer for a number of stone cladding projects. Modern-day architects and designers drew their inspiration for stone design from the stone masters of old.

After completing my degree in Architectural Studies ('73) I never really gave too much thought to the art and architectural history courses I had taken, but did marvel at the immense stone structures that these master builders were able to erect. It wasn't until after I had left Flad and had the opportunity to travel abroad and visit some of these ancient building sites that I thought once again of those architectural history studies.

Below are just a few of the many photos I took of the tombs and temples built by these stone masters of old. Note that since we were involved in the modern-day stone engineering design of structures while on these trips I paid particular attention as to how these stone artisans of old assembled and anchored their stone structures.

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Beginning in the mid 5th c. B.C. up till today three temples dedicated to the worship of Athena Parthenos have succeeded each other on the same site. Parthenon III was begun in 447 B.C. by architects Iktinos and Kallikrates and construction lasted for 10 years.

Most of the original pediment sculptures to survive the 1687 gunpowder explosion were seized by Lord Elgin and are now in the British Museum (Figure 6 and 7). Figure 8 shows mutule, slablike element projecting from under the face of the Doric cornice.

The Propylaia built on the old Late Archaic portico to plans of the architect Mnesikles and was part of a building program begun by Pericles (Figure 10 and 11). Its cost was said to be 2,012 talants.

The Erechtheion represents the “rich style” on the sacred rock. Work began between 421-415 B.C. and was completed around 406 B.C. Caryatids on the present porch are now concrete copies (Figures 12-14).

The Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens, Greece

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was begun in the 6th century B.C. and took over 700 years to complete. The largest temple in Greece, it was completed by Hadrian in 131 A.D. Figure 3 shows a Corinthian column detail. The column is 17m (56') high and has a 1.7m (5.6') base.

The Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion Greece

The Temple of Apollo, Delphi, Greece

The Archaic Temple of Apollo, Corinth, Greece

The Temple of Artemis, Selcuk, Turkey

The worship of Cybele and Artemis which represented the mother goddess has been dated to 7,000 B.C.

Ephesus, Turkey

The Temple of Athena Polias, Priene, Turkey

The Temple of Apollo, Didyma, Turkey

The Temple of Apollo at Didyma is the Hellenistic temple most often cited. Work began, on this version, about 300 B.C. and continued to 2nd c. A.D. but work was never completed.

This was to be a truly massive temple dedicated to Apollo as judged by its column drums (Figures 5 and 6). For reference my wife, Geri, is about 5'-11” tall.

Memphis, Egypt

Saqqara, Egypt

Island of Philae, Egypt

The temple complex of Isis on the Island of Philae was rescued stone by stone by UNESCO in the 1960s when the High Dam was under construction. This religious complex was used up to the reign of Justinian in 550 A.D. What is apparent, in the construction of these ancient temples, is that they set the stones at the approximate size needed and then dressed them down to the finished surface later (Figures 13 and 14).

Kom-Ombo Temple, Egypt

This temple sports twin sanctuaries dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, and to Haroeris or ‘Horus the Elder’. This temple begun during the Ptolemaic period was completed in the 1st century B.C. Not shown here in these photos but on a temple wall hieroglyphs show their “festival calendar”. The Egyptians really liked to party.

Edfu Temple, Egypt

Esna Temple, Egypt

The temple, which now stands in the middle of the modern town, about 30 feet below the surrounding buildings, dates to Ptolemaic and Roman times. It was dedicated to Khnum and several other deities. Only the hypostyle hall remains.

Karnak Temple Complex, Egypt

Luxor, Egypt

Deir el-Bahri, Egypt

The scenes behind the 1st colonnade once showed the Great Barge of Queen Hatshepsut (1479 - 1457 BC) carrying her two obelisks.

With the advent of trade between Greece and Egypt it would seem reasonable that the Egyptians might of influenced Greek building styles and the Proto-Doric columns in Figures 5-8 might of had an influence on early Greek Temple building. One of the earliest Greek Temples being the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece (590 B.C.).

Cairo Museum, Cairo, Egypt

It's amazing that these simple tools helped build the Great Pyramids and massive temples found here in this country.


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