From human niche construction to imperial power: long-term trends in ancient Iranian water systems

Wilkinson, T.J, Boucharlat, R, Ertsen, M.W, Gillmore, G, Kennet, D, Magee, P, Rezakhani, K and De Schacht, T (2012) 'From human niche construction to imperial power: long-term trends in ancient Iranian water systems.' Water History, 4 (2). pp. 155-176. ISSN 1877-7236

Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12685-012-0056-9

Abstract

This article summarizes the outcome of a workshop sponsored by the Durham University Centre for Iranian Cultural Studies, where papers were presented on the entire chronological range of water management systems in Iran from around 8000 years bc until around 1000 ad. The primary aim was to recognize major research questions that could be used to create an agenda for future studies of ancient water use in the country. In the Durham meeting, it appeared that although the small-scale prehistoric systems probably constituted an example of ‘human niche construction’, the later imperial systems did not. Despite the recognition of occasional irrigation systems of third millennium bc date in the Deh Luran plain by Neely and Wright, as well as perhaps in Khuzestan, there appears to be a general dearth of evidence of Chalcolithic and Bronze Age systems in Iran. However, by the first millennium bc there was a considerable increase in the construction of major water management systems, some of which were, at least as far as the associated evidence suggests, constructed by imperial authorities. All agreed, however, that just because a system appeared large in scale, it was not necessarily a result of imperial management. For the subject of qanats it was argued that not only were they usually built by small-scale societies, but also that there may have been multiple centres of origin; one primary centre being a broad zone of south-east Iran, Pakistan and south-east Arabia.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Iran, irrigation, water supply, geoarchaeology
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12685-012-0056-9
Date Deposited: 28 May 2021 20:03
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:56
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