The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology
Shepperson, M., (online 2018, print 2022). Visibility, privacy and missing windows: lighting domestic space in ancient Mesopotamia. In C. Papadopoulos & Moyes, H. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
About the Book
This paper examines the means by which light was admitted to Mesopotamian domestic space, arguing that doorways were the primary light source for most rooms. The consequences of this are then discussed, including the accessibility of lighting to archaeological study through recovered floor plans, and the impact which a reliance on doorway lighting may have had on the development of ancient Mesopotamian architecture. The interrelationship of lighting, access and privacy in doorway-lit architecture is then considered, illustrated with examples of light distribution through excavated Mesopotamian houses. The lighting of domestic chapels and reception rooms are analysed in relation to their cultic and social functions, showing that access and lighting combine to create space which is suited to its use and meaning.