Monday, December 15, 2008

Back to the Basins

The first means of irrigation and base for most irrigation used by the egyptians. Along the Nile river there are several naturally formed indentions in the earth. During the annual flood these indentions would fill with water. The egyptians of that time came up with the idea to surround these indentions with mud dams so they would hold the water. Cannals were dug from these basins to the farmers fields. As the technology increased, the basins were surrounded by stone dams to keep more water and keep that water in the basin for longer periods. Later the basins were man made to move them to where they were needed. This method was replaced when the cannal system was devised.


Shadufs (thats sha-doof) are a leaver used by tieing long wooden pole to a mount to enable the pole to piviot up and down, kinda like a catapult only your not flinging rocks thousands of feet at an attacking army! A bucket was then tied onto the end facing the Nile. On the other end a net of rocks or a bag of sand would be tied to to be used as a counterbalance to make the bucket of water seem light and it is easier to raise the bucket out of the rushing water. This method of irrigation is still used along the banks of the Nile and along other rivers across the world. The water from shadufs woulldnt be used for the fields as much as for the farmers and the animals being raised there. It would take a lot of buckets to water probably 6 decent sized fields!

How to Block the Nile

The ancient egyptians built dams along the Nile. The egyptians built a dam that was 350 feet long, 40 feet high and 78 feet thick at the base. The dam was built in 2500 b.c. to supply a stone quarry just south of Cairo with water. Today, the mighty Aswan high dam is a symbol of modern day Egypt. 5 kilometers long at its crest, and 1 kilometer thick at its base, and rises 107 meters above sea level, its no wonder why it stands for so much.

Cannals, Ditches of Life

The ancient egyptian civilization was one of the biggest in history, but without food they would have been nothing. The egyptian empire was based on the Nile river that would stretch all the way acrosss the U.S! Every year the river floods, bringing fertile soil to the land. Once the water returned to its normal level, there would be very fertile soil for their crops to grow. When farmers started to grow the crops they needed to be watered and they didnt have the advanced equipment that we have today and using buckets to water a large field isnt exactly as easy as 123. So how did the egyptians get the water? They dug cannals from the Nile to their fields. The cannals were dug in a repeating square pattern. In the squares of land the fields were planted. At the entrance of the cannals the farmer would have a wood dam to control the water flow. The elaborate system of cannals provided water and increased the distance that crops could be grown.