September 16, 2013

Primitive Irrigation in Ancient Egypt

Primitive Irrigation
The system of irrigation in Egypt is primitive and most of the work has to be done manually. The major problem is that of raising the water from the river to the level of the banks. The land slopes away from the river, doubtless as a result of the annual alluvion, so that there is nothing easier, once the water has been raised to the level of the bank, than to send it down the channels right to the edge of the river in the period when its waters have withdrawn to its natural bed. The water is generally 4 or 5 metres below the level of the land and soon it will be even lower. To overcome this difference in levels use is made of the creaking « sakhyeh », a water wheel usually operated by asses or oxen. Alternatively water can be drawn from the Nile by means of the « shadoof », a simple leather bucket which is dipped in the river, filled with water and then raised by means of a counterweight, consisting of other buckets, at various levels, unitl the water finally reaches the field.

Primitive Irrigation in Ancient Egypt
It has been calculated that this device can lift about 50 litres of water a minute, and pictures in Egyptian tombs prove that it has been in use on the banks of the Nile for more than three thousand years. No one has ever thought of improving it in spite of all the innovations and conquests of technology.

Primitive Irrigation in Ancient Egypt

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