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Distributing Water (Ancient Indus Valley)
The Hindu ^ | 4-13-2007 | Dr T V Padma

Posted on 04/13/2007 11:03:16 AM PDT by blam

Distributing water

DR. T. V. PADMA

How did the people of the Indus manage to water their cities?

In Indus cities, each house or group of houses had a private well, made with wedge-shaped bricks that slotted together in a cylindrical shape strong enough to withstand the weight of water when the well was full. This is not a simple matter, and required calculation — otherwise a well could collapse once it was full of water.

How did the Indus people keep wells and bathing facilities watertight? First, they used bricks that fitted together tightly. Second, they coated the outer layers of structures that needed to stay watertight with a substance called bitumen, which is nothing but natural tar.

Mohenjodaro's Great Bath is a pool 12 ft long and 23 ft wide. Its outer layers are made watertight with bitumen. Water from the bath emptied into a massive drain, which was engineered not to cave in when the pool was full.

Since smaller bathing facilities have been discovered nearby, archaeologists think the Great Bath was a special place with religious significance, not a public swimming pool. But they still aren't too sure how the Great Bath was filled with clean water.

Strategic location

Dholavira presented a special problem. Its dry climate was not ideal for agriculture, but its location, close to the sea, gave it a strategic trade advantage. So how did Dholavira's population get the water that they needed? Indus engineers came up with an interesting solution: they located the city on a slope between two storm water channels that accumulated water from the seasonal rains. They also constructed several cisterns, and carved reservoirs out of solid rock to store freshwater to support Dholavira's population.

At the coastal city of Lothal, archaeologists excavated a site that some think was an ancient dock. If so, it would mean that Indus people probably had a high level of knowledge about local tides and other aspects of near-shore geology.

Cities provide clues about the people who designed and lived in them.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: distributing; godsgravesglyphs; harappan; harappans; india; indus; indusvalleyscript; valley; water

1 posted on 04/13/2007 11:03:17 AM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 04/13/2007 11:03:38 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

I am sure the water supplies of bitumen-sealed wells would exceed the USEPA drinking water standards for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — and likely several heavy metals, as well.


3 posted on 04/13/2007 11:08:32 AM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: blam

must have been aliens !!!


4 posted on 04/13/2007 11:14:07 AM PDT by Jeffrey_D. (Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Gondring
I am sure the water supplies of bitumen-sealed wells would exceed the USEPA drinking water standards for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Initially, anyway. Over time the levels would drop as the aromatics were depleted from the coating.

It didn't much matter at the time. When your life expectancy is around 40 due to a dozen or more tropical diseases and the Anopheles mosquitoes are buzzing 'round your ears, drinking a few petroleum volatiles is the least of your concerns.

5 posted on 04/13/2007 11:15:06 AM PDT by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...
Thanks Blam. All is well.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

6 posted on 04/13/2007 11:15:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Oberon
Initially, anyway. Over time the levels would drop as the aromatics were depleted from the coating.

PAHs (e.g., benzo(a)pyrene) are semi-volatile compounds--they tend to be heavy and persistent, with very low allowable limits because of mutagenic and carcinogenic properties.

7 posted on 04/13/2007 11:20:13 AM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: SunkenCiv
"All is well."

As it should be for a 13th.

8 posted on 04/13/2007 11:20:24 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam

And noah was a farmer in that area who got washed out to sea on his 3 layer log raft during a hurricane.


9 posted on 04/13/2007 11:23:00 AM PDT by timer (n/0=n=nx0)
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To: Oberon
It didn't much matter at the time. When your life expectancy is around 40 due to a dozen or more tropical diseases and the Anopheles mosquitoes are buzzing 'round your ears, drinking a few petroleum volatiles is the least of your concerns.

Exactly. Puts it into perspective, eh?


10 posted on 04/13/2007 11:27:23 AM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: SunkenCiv; blam
From the description, these sound more like cisterns for storage than wells. Wouldn’t they have taken their water originally from the Indus?
11 posted on 04/13/2007 11:44:43 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Gondring

***I am sure the water supplies of bitumen-sealed wells would exceed the USEPA drinking water standards for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — and likely several heavy metals, as well.***

Got an MSDS sheet on that?


12 posted on 04/13/2007 12:29:29 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Not by that manufacturer :-) But just look up “asphalt” and you’ll get it.


13 posted on 04/13/2007 1:57:43 PM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: colorado tanker
From the description, these sound more like cisterns for storage than wells.

Agreed.

14 posted on 04/13/2007 1:58:10 PM PDT by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: Gondring

LOL! Great cartoon. I am re-reading ‘On the Edge of the Primeval Forest’ written by Albert Schweitzer, in which he describes the numerous infectious diseases the natives suffered, many spread by various insects. Tropical dysentry, leprosy, ‘tropical eating sores’ (ulcers) “not infrequently the whole leg surface is one single sore, in which the sinews and bones show like white islands...”

Ah, the healthy, happy outdoor life!


15 posted on 04/13/2007 4:15:13 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Fair Dinkum!)
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To: colorado tanker

Wells would be more hygienic, particularly in the environment of a large and rising population. The Indus has a lot of sediment, and meanders through a kinda flat countryside, the channel silts up in unpredictable ways, shallows out.


16 posted on 04/13/2007 7:54:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

Uh-oh. I was hoping no one would bring up... [suspense soundtrack] *Friday the 13th*!


17 posted on 04/13/2007 7:55:34 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Didn’t say a peep about Friday.


18 posted on 04/13/2007 8:15:48 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

:’) Uh-oh, I guess I spilled the beans... oops, there goes the salt shaker, right over... and earlier I was chasing my black cat after it crossed my path, right under a ladder... and stepped on a crack in the process... tripped on it, fell headfirst into an old medicine cabinet that was on the curb, and broke the mirror... probably all these cancel out though...


19 posted on 04/13/2007 8:37:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv
"...probably all these cancel out though..."

Not until you walk under the ladder.

20 posted on 04/13/2007 9:15:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: Gondring

Their problem was a diet of roast duck with mango salsa.


21 posted on 04/13/2007 9:26:13 PM PDT by Pelham (deporting illegals- One Job no American president Will Do-)
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To: blam

I can’t resist a double dare... ;’)


22 posted on 04/13/2007 9:53:24 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Monday, April 2, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


23 posted on 12/05/2011 10:22:01 AM PST by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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