Iraqi Marshes: Construction Workers

Date: 1968-1990

The Marsh Arabs made some houses from pisé (rammed earth), which has been described by Edward Ochsenschlager. These structures were also made of mud, but often with less consistency, and commonly on raised platforms next to the source of the mud for ease of access. Unlike mudbrick houses, these houses were built by the families who would live in them. The walls were built in approximately 20 cm high segments, each of which required two-four days drying time. Thick reeds were used to smooth the plaster added to the walls once the structure was complete, and this finishing would have to be repeated annually. See also: Architect; Builder; House Painter; Mat Maker; Sun-Dried Brick Maker.

Citation: Ochsenschlager, Edward. Iraq’s Marsh Arabs in the Garden of Eden (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2004), pp. 98-99.

Also: Milwright, Marcus. Islamic Arts and Crafts: An Anthology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), pp. 191-92.