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Book Sections Year : 2023

The Egyptian mud-brick silo. Technical and functional analysis of a grain storage device

Abstract

Mud-brick silos are regularly identified in Egyptian archaeological sites and in “daily life” scenes depicted in private tombs since the Old Kingdom. These storage facilities for grain and bulk foodstuffs are present in several types of settlements and associated with various buildings such as temples or dwellings. As well as the pit-silo, the free-standing silo preserves foodstuff by creating an airtight atmosphere. However, several questions linked to the long-term conservation of grains need to be explored further. The first issue concerns the architectural elements: what was the role played by the building materials and techniques in insulating the crops from the outside atmosphere? How long and how much do seeds retain their germinative properties when stored in a free-standing silo? How the risks of spontaneous combustion and gas emissions were handled? To try to answer these questions, an experimental archaeology project bringing together Egyptologists, architects and agronomists was initiated in 2021. This article presents the methodology used and the first stages of the project, from the study of the iconographical, archaeological and ethnographic evidence – including building materials and techniques – to the construction of two silo prototypes in France. In addition, the ensiling of barley in the second silo prototype and the following grain monitoring are described in detail along with the results obtained and future perspectives.
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Dates and versions

hal-04544285 , version 1 (12-04-2024)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

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  • HAL Id : hal-04544285 , version 1

Cite

Adeline Bats, Nadia Licitra, Thierry Joffroy, Bastien Lamouroux, Aurélie Feuillas, et al.. The Egyptian mud-brick silo. Technical and functional analysis of a grain storage device. Adeline Bats; Nadia Licitra. Storage in ancient Egypt and Nubia. Earthen architecture and building techniques, Sidestone Press, pp.151-171, 2023, 978-94-6426-225-4. ⟨hal-04544285⟩
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