Original Paper

Water History

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 3-28

First online:

Contest and co-operation: strategies for medieval and later irrigation along the upper Huecha valley, Aragón, north-east Spain

  • Christopher GerrardAffiliated withDepartment of Archaeology, Durham University Email author 

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This case study from north-east Spain examines technologies of water capture, storage and distribution in the Middle Ages and later. Drawing on details from contemporary documents and archaeological fieldwork, the article then explores the allocation and administration of water rights and investigates the tensions brought about by new patterns of land ownership and Christian political administration after the early twelfth century, in particular following the foundation of a powerful Cistercian monastery which potentially introduced destabilising forces of change into the region. While irrigators continued to make routine decisions about the running of the hydraulic network, in other respects they were far from self-determining communities.


Irrigation Landscape archaeology Monasteries Spain