IWA Publishing

A brief history of water supply and wastewater management in ancient Greece

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The evolution of urban water management in ancient Greece begins in Crete during the Middle Bronze and the beginning of the Late Bronze Ages (ca. 2000–1500 B.C.) when many remarkable developments occurred in several stages as Minoan civilization flourished on the island. One of its salient characteristics was the architectural and hydraulic function of its water supply and sewerage systems in the Minoan Palaces and several other settlements. These technologies, though they do not give a complete picture of water supply and wastewater and storm water technologies in ancient Greece, indicate nevertheless that such technologies have been used in Greece since prehistoric times. Minoan water and wastewater technologies were diffused to the Greek mainland in the subsequent phases of Greek civilization, i.e. in the Mycenaean, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. The scope of this article is the presentation of the most characteristic forms of ancient hydraulic works and related technologies and their uses in past Greek civilizations.

Keywords: ancient civilizations, aqueducts, Bronze Age, cisterns, drainage, fountains, sewerage systems, water distribution, wells

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