1st Edition

Water and Society from Ancient Times to the Present Resilience, Decline, and Revival

Edited By Federica Sulas, Innocent Pikirayi Copyright 2018
    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    420 Pages
    by Routledge

    As water availability, management and conservation become global challenges, there is now wide consensus that historical knowledge can provide crucial information to address present crises, offering unique opportunities to appreciate the solutions and mechanisms societies have developed over time to deal with water in all its forms, from rainfall to groundwater. 

    This unique collection explores how ancient water systems relate to present ideas of resilience and sustainability and can inform future strategy. Through an investigation of historic water management systems, along with the responses to, and impact of, various water-driven catastrophes, contributors to this volume present tenable solutions for the long-term use of water resources in different parts of the world. The discussion is not limited to issues of the past, seeking instead to address the resonance and legacy of water histories in the present and future.

    Water and Society from Ancient Times to the Present speaks to an archaeological and non-archaeological scholarly audience and will be a useful primary reference text for researchers and graduate students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including archaeology, anthropology, history, ecology, geography, geology, architecture and development studies.

    Introduction Water and society by the editors; Chapter 1 Sustaining freshwater security and community wealth: Diversity and change in the pre-Columbian Maya Lowlands; Chapter 2 Archaeological identification of human sensitivity to drought; Chapter 3 Water and Risks in Marginal Landscapes of Anatolia; Chapter 4 Water management and irrigation systems in Medieval Mediterranean; Chapter 5 The tale the river tells: Floodplains, climate change, and archaeology in West Africa; Chapter 6 Water and large-scale societies in southern Zambezia, 900‒1900 AD; Chapter 7 Traditions of water in the highlands of the northern Horn of Africa; Chapter 8 Managing water and land at the Amazon River estuary: From Precolumbian times to the present; Chapter 9 Ancient water management in Southern Arabia: Creativity, resilience, and sustainability in Yemen and Oman; Chapter 10 Qanāts of Iran: Sustainable water supply system; Chapter 11 Angkor, food production, water management and climate change: The trajectory of urbanism in SE Asia to the mid-2nd millennium AD; Chapter 12 Hydraulic Complexities: Collapse and Resilience in Sri Lanka; Chapter 13 Historic water systems in India: Relevance for sustainable development of significant cultural landscapes; Chapter 14 Historic Water Systems, Urban Growth, and Resilience in American Cities; Concluding essay 1 Resource gain and complexity: Water past and future; Concluding essay 2 Historical water socio-ecological systems - Sustainability, resilience and transformability


    Federica Sulas (PhD, Cantab) is an Archaeologist with research interests in historical landscapes. She has conducted field research Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sardinia. As Assistant Professor at the Centre of Excellence for Urban Network Evolutions of the Danish National Research Foundation (grant DNRF119), Aarhus University, Denmark, she is developing collaborative research on urban transitions and social complexity in eastern and southern Africa.


    Innocent Pikirayi (PhD, Uppsala) is a Professor in Archaeology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He researches on complex societies in southern and central Africa and is currently conducting geoarchaeological investigations at Great Zimbabwe to understand the ancient city’s water resources. He is also interested in ancient urbanism and the globalization of the early-modern world.