Dams: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


1st Edition

Edited by Donald C. Jackson


404 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787532
pub: 1998-03-01
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Dams have been used to control water for thousands of years, with the oldest known dam being a small earthen structure in present-day Jordan dating to c.4000 BCE. Since then, cultures throughout the world have practised the art of dam-building and the technology has evolved in myriad ways. The papers selected here examine the key technical issues influencing dam construction from ancient times to the early 20th century. In addition they illustrate why various human societies have built dams and how ’social’ (or seemingly ’non-technical’) factors have influenced the process of dam design. Though hydraulic engineering is the primary focus of the book, it also reveals a keen interest in questions of water resources and environmental history.


'The aim of Ashgate's twelve volume series is to bring together collections of important papers on particular topics from scholarly journals, conference proceedings and other hard-to-access sources. This is a wholly laudable objective. Some of the papers in the volume under review [The Civil Engineering of Canals and Railways before 1850] cannot be found even in abundantly-resourced academic libraries. The series opens up, directly or indirectly, debates over the nature of historical evidence which arise from the profoundly different approaches to the past of historians of technology, whose works are principally represented in these volumes, industrial archaeologists and social and economic historians.' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1 '…the book should take a complementary place alongside…existing texts on the history of dams….' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 2 ' The depth and range of the papers presented will ensure that this book is of interest to both the professional engineer and to the general reader…. The technical content of the individual papers is high and reflects the careful research undertaken by the different authors.' International Water Power& Dams Construction

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Sadd-el-Kafara, the world’s oldest large dam, G.Garbrecht; The Roman dams of Subiaco, Norman A.F.Smith; The chapter on weirs in the Codex of Juanelo Turriano: a question of authorship, J.A.Garcia-Diego; Architecture for fish: the Sienese dam on the Bruna River-structures and designs, ca. 1468-1530, Nicholas Adams; The evolution of the arch dam, N.J.Schnitter; The evolution of buttress dams, N.J.Schnitter; The evolution of British dams, Geoffrey Binnie; The Jones Falls Dam on the Rideau Canal, Ontario, Canada, Robert F.Legget; 19th-century hydropower: design and construction of the Lawrence Dam, 1845-1848, Peter M. Molloy; The failure of the Bouzey Dam in 1895, Norman A.F.Smith; George Deacon (1843-1909) and the Vyrnwy works, I.Davidson; Engineering in the progressive era: a new look at Frederick Haynes Newell and the U.S. Reclamation Service, Donald C. Jackson; A narrow window of opportunity: the rise and fall of the fixed steel dam, Terry S. Reynolds; Considering the multiple arch dam: theory, practice and the ethics of safety in a case of innovative hydraulic engineering, Donald C. Jackson; Historical developent of British embankment dams to 1960, A.W.Skempton; Machine-age iconography in the American West: the design of Hoover Dam, Richard Guy Wilson; Hoover Dam: a study in domination, Donald Worster, Index.

About the Series

Studies in the History of Civil Engineering

From dams to cathedrals, from water supply to transport systems, and from land drainage to the design and construction of ever larger and more monumental buildings, the impact of civil engineering on human history has been immense. This series sets out to examine key aspects of its history, from antiquity to the early 20th century.

Studies in the History of Civil Engineering focuses on the following areas: the analysis of early structures to discover how ancient or medieval builders used the materials available to them, and the principles upon which they worked; the ideas and practices of design as employed by both engineers and architects; the development of new materials and techniques, from wooden trusses to cast iron and concrete; the investigation of the great engineering projects that began to burgeon with the 18th century, first in Britain, then elsewhere, underpinned by advances in science which provided a new theoretical framework upon which to base the engineering.

These volumes reveal the implications for the history of architecture of choices of material, technique and structure. They aim also to reflect the political and economic constraints which so often shaped what could be achieved, and the inter-relationship between the history of civil engineering and economic history: the engineering was both stimulated by, and made possible the spread of industrialization.

Not least, the series is concerned to examine the lives, attitudes and careers of the men who emerged to form the new profession of the engineer. Studies in the History of Civil Engineering comprises 12 volumes. Each focuses on a particular topic, edited by an expert in that field. They reprint a selection of papers which have proved of particular importance, and which exemplify the current state of knowledge and the historiography. Originally published in wide range of scholarly journals, conference proceedings and the like, many hard to consult, these papers are now reprinted together under hard covers, making them readily accessible, even for non-specialists. Each volume opens with a substantial new introduction by the editor, to assess the field and place the papers in their context, and is fully indexed. The series constitutes an authoritative reference library, not just for those interested in the history of civil engineering, but also those studying economic history and the history of science and, above all, of architecture.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General