Cover: Thirst: Water and Power in the Ancient World, from Harvard University PressCover: Thirst in HARDCOVER


Water and Power in the Ancient World

Product Details


$25.95 • £22.95 • €23.95

ISBN 9780674066939

Publication Date: 11/26/2012


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

49 color illustrations, 17 line illustrations, 11 maps

United States and its dependencies only

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Related Subjects

  • List of Figures*
  • List of Photographs**
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Thirst: For knowledge of the past and lessons for the future
  • 2. The water revolution: The origins of water management in the Levant, 1.5 million years ago to 700 BC
  • 3. ‘The black fields became white/the broad plain was choked with salt’: Water management and the rise and fall of Sumerian civilisation, 5000–1600 BC
  • 4. ‘Water is the best thing of all’—Pindar of Thebes, 476 BC: Water management by the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Ancient Greeks, 1800–146 BC
  • 5. A watery paradise in Petra: The Nabataeans, masters of the desert, 300 BC–AD 106
  • 6. Building rivers and taking baths: Rome and Constantinople, 400 BC–AD 800
  • 7. A million men with teaspoons: Hydraulic engineering in Ancient China, 900 BC–AD 907
  • 8. The hydraulic city: Water management by the kings of Angkor, AD 802–1327
  • 9. Almost a civilisation: Hohokam irrigation in the American South-West, AD 1–1450
  • 10. Life and death of the water lily monster: Water and the rise and fall of Mayan civilisation, 2000 BC–AD 1000
  • 11. Water poetry in the Sacred Valley: Hydraulic engineering by the Incas, AD 1200–1572
  • 12. An unquenched thirst: For water and for knowledge of the past
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • * Figures:
    • 1.1 Societies of the ancient world visited within this book
    • 2.1 Map of the Levant showing archaeological sites and localities referred to in the text
    • 2.2 The Neolithic barrage at Wadi Abu Tulayha, Jafr Basin (after Fujii 2007a)
    • 2.3 Section through the Neolithic well at Sha’ar Hagolan, Jordan Valley, Israel (after Garfinkel et al. 2006)
    • 2.4 Schematic diagram of the water storage system at Bronze Age Jawa (after Whitehead et al. 2008)
    • 2.5 Siloam’s Tunnel at Jerusalem
    • 3.1 Archaeological sites and locations referred to in Chapter 3
    • 3.2 Hypothetical layout of an agricultural complex in Southern Mesopotamia (after Postgate 1994)
    • 4.1 Map of Greece showing archaeological sites referred to in Chapter 4
    • 4.2 The Bronze Age settlement of Myrtos–Pyrgos, Crete, showing location of the two cisterns (after Cadogan 2007)
    • 4.3 The original course of the Manessi River, its new course during the Late Mycenaean period around the northern side of Tiryns, and the Mycenaean dam and canal built to divert the river (after Zangger 1994)
    • 4.4 Eupalinos’ tunnel on the Island of Samos (after Apostol 2004)
    • 5.1 Nabataean settlements referred to in Chapter 5
    • 6.1 The aqueducts of Rome
    • 6.2 The long-distance aqueduct from Vize to Constantinople, showing location of the Kurṣunlugerme aqueduct bridge (after Crow et al. 2008)
    • 7.1 Archaeological sites and hydraulic engineering projects referred to in Chapter 7
    • 7.2 Changing seasonal water flow at Dujiangyan (after Gillet and Mowbray 2008)
    • 7.3 Irrigation of Chengdu Plain by the Dujiangyan scheme, based on a Qing Dynasty depiction
    • 7.4 Sui-Tang Dynasty Chang’an, showing the fangs, streets and canals (after Du and Koenig 2012)
    • 8.1 Barays (reservoirs), canals, rivers and a selection of temples at Angkor, referred to in Chapter 8 (after Fletcher et al. 2008)
    • 9.1 Irrigation canals of the Hohokam in the Salt River Basin (based on maps within Pueblo Grande Museum, Phoenix)
    • 9.2 Hohokam irrigation system components (after Masse 1991)
    • 10.1 Maya sites referred to in Chapter 10
    • 10.2 Schematic settlement plan of Tikal showing location of reservoirs (after Lucero 2006)
    • 10.3 Schematic plan showing canals at Edzná (after Matheny et al. 1983)
    • 10.4 Lid of Maya vessel depicting frog emerging from water (after Bonnafoux 2011)
    • 11.1 Pre-Inca and Inca sites of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu referred to in Chapter 11
    • 11.2 Terraces and canals at Tipón (after Wright 2006)
  • ** Photographs:
    • 1. The Hoover Dam, seen from the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 2. The 19,600-year-old site of Ohalo, located on the shore of Lake Tiberias, undergoing excavation in September 1999. The remnants of a circular hut can be seen in the lower left of the picture (Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 3. Tell es-Sultan, Jericho, surrounded by the modern-day town (September 1992. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 4. Semi-subterranean dwellings with pisé (mud-based) walls and floors at the Neolithic site of WF16, Jordan (April 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 5. The Neolithic settlement of Beidha, southern Jordan (Copyright © Claire Rambeau)
    • 6. The Neolithic ‘barrage’ at Wadi Abu Tulayha, Jafr Basin, Jordan—the earliest known dam in the Levant at 7500 BC (Copyright © Sumio Fujii)
    • 7. Excavation of the Neolithic well at Sha’ar Hagolan, Israel (Copyright © Yossi Garfinkel and Sha’ar Hagolan expedition, Hebrew University)
    • 8. View towards the reconstructed north-west entrance of the Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete (August 2004. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 9. Drains at the Minoan palace of Knossos, Crete (August 2010. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 10. Courtyard at the Minoan palace of Phaistos which most likely functioned as a rainfall-harvesting device, with a raised processional walkway. Heather, Nick and Sue Mithen demonstrating the Phaistos walk (August 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 11. Granary or water cistern? At the Minoan palace of Phaistos, Greece (August 2010. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 12. The city wall of Tiryns, Greece, showing the ‘cyclopean’ Mycenaean masonry of the west side (Copyright © Michael Boyd)
    • 13. Approaching the Treasury at the Nabataean city of Petra (April 2005. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 14. Remains of the terracotta pipe and channel in the siq at the Nabataean city of Petra (April 2005. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 15. Humayma, Jordan, showing the rectangular Roman fort towards the top of the picture with the Nabataean aqueduct running in front of it, and a range of structures from Nabataean and later periods (Copyright © APAAME_19980520_DLK-0243, D.L. Kennedy)
    • 16. Section of the Nabataean ’Ain al Jammam aqueduct channel north of Humayma, Jordan (Copyright © John Oleson)
    • 17. Walking through the Nabataean city of Petra, Jordan, looking east towards rock cut tombs, with the Great Temple on the right of the picture (April 2005. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 18. The Great Temple at Petra. The ornamental pool and garden had been located on the far side of the pillars (Copyright © APAAME_20051002_RHB-0109, R.H. Bewley)
    • 19. Arches carrying the Aqua Claudia in the Parco degli acquedotti, Rome (April 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 20. Aqua Claudia in the centre of Rome showing the double tier of channels (April 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 21. Caldarium at the Baths of Caracalla (April 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 22. The Byzantine Aqueduct of Valens, now known as the Bozdoğan Kemeri, Constantinople/Istanbul (February 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 23. The Kurṣunlugerme, close to Guümüṣpınar, carrying the long Byzantine aqueduct from Vize to Constantinople (February 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 24. Inside the Byzantine Yerebatan Saraya, or the Basilica Cistern, Istanbul (February 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 25. Dujiangyan irrigation system, China, constructed from 270 BC, from the Qinyan Tower looking east towards the Sichuan Basin along the divided River Min joined by a spillway (June 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 26. Fountain in Dujiangyan Visitor Park, China, containing the iron bars that Li Bing used to mark the level to which silt had to be annually cleared from the river, and pebble-filled bamboo cages as used by Li Bing to construct the island that divided the river course (June 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 27. The ‘fish head’ at Dujiangyan, China, built originally by Li Bing to divide the River Min into two channels (June 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 28. Statue of Li Bing in the Erwang Temple at Dujiangyan, China (June 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 29. The Three Gorges Dam, China (Copyright © iStockphoto)
    • 30. Angkor Wat, Cambodia (October 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 31. Ta Prohm, Angkor, Cambodia (October 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 32. View across the moat to the inner enclosure at Banteay Srei, Angkor, Cambodia (October 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 33. The south-west corner of the Royal Bath, or Srah Srang, Angkor (October 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 34. Swimming in the West Baray, Angkor, Cambodia (October 2010. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 35. Salt River, Arizona (July 2011), creating a green corridor through the Sonoran Desert, not dissimilar to that enjoyed by the Hohokam in the first century AD (Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 36. Hohokam canal ditch, located on the Park of the Canals, Mesa, Arizona, with Steven Mithen providing scale (July 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 37. The Big House at Casa Grande, Coolidge, Gila River Basin, Arizona (July 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 38. The Maya site of Edzná, Mexico, looking east from the steps of the House of the Moon temple. The Great Acropolis supporting the Building of the Five Storeys is to the right (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 39. The Maya site of Edzná, Mexico, looking west through the middle of the ball court. The remains of a stone ring through which the ball was passed can be seen midway along the right-hand slope (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 40. Water lily, symbol of the Mayan Holy Lords (August 2011. Copyright © Sue Mithen)
    • 41. Machu Picchu, Peru, soon after sunrise on 6 August 2011, looking north across the Central Plaza towards the peak of Huayna Picchu, with the roaring Urubamba River in the valley below (Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 42. Inca Pachacuti, statue in the centre of Cusco, Peru (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 43. Terraces on the east side of Machu Picchu, Peru, looking towards the Central Plaza (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 44. Aqueduct bringing drinking water 749 metres from the spring on the eastern side of Machu Picchu peak to the citadel (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 45. Fountain 10 at Machu Picchu, illustrating both the functional and artful provision of water. One of sixteen fountains aligned along the Central Staircase (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 46. View looking east across the thirteen terraces at Tipón, Peru, towards the royal residences (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 47. Ornamental issue of the spring on to the third terrace at Tipón, Peru (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 48. Flying steps within terrace walls, staircase and water channel with cascades at Tipón, Peru (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)
    • 49. Terraces at Pisac, Peru, looking north-west along the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River (August 2011. Copyright © Steven Mithen)

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