Dams and Irrigation in Ancient Arabia

  • Michael Harrower
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9119

Among the many scientific and technological accomplishments of ancient Arabia, dams and irrigation systems stand out as a remarkable testament to advanced skills in hydrological engineering. Arabia's ancient inhabitants developed sophisticated means of capturing and diverting water that not only involved detailed knowledge of water flows, but also required coordination of considerable labor for construction, operation, and maintenance. Although sometimes overshadowed by better‐known Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and South Asian irrigation systems that supported some of the world's earliest and most influential civilizations, the remains of advanced water control systems have also been found throughout Arabia. Some of the ancient world's largest dams and most advanced flash‐floodwater systems were constructed in Southwest Arabia (Yemen) during the late first millennium BCE. Southwest Arabian floodwater (spate) systems irrigated thousands of hectares and supported ancient states that gained...

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  • Michael Harrower

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