A survey of ancient Minoan water technologies

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A survey is presented of water technologies used by the ancient Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age. This survey considers eleven Minoan settlements on the eastern part of Crete and is based upon a field assessment of the water technologies. While water systems had a monumental role in the life of the Minoans there has been little understanding of these ancient systems. Partially this can be explained by the multiple levels of modifications to the original structures since the demise of the Minoan civilization. In addition, post-excavation activities on archaeological sites obscure and mask features of the ancient structures making it difficult to discern their original purposes. Today, Minoan water technologies can serve as models for sustainable water management and adaptation to climatic fluctuations. Our present day practice of designing water systems in many developed parts of the world has forgotten the more sustainable practices, based upon traditional knowledge, such as rainfall water harvesting, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. In many developing parts of the world people overlook the technologies and know how that was used thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations, such as the Minoans. How do we overcome these modern day shortcomings and strive for water resources sustainability? Possibly one way is to study the past.

Keywords: ancient water technologies, crete, Minoan settlements, traditional knowledge, water resources sustainability

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