Skip to comments.Distributing Water (Ancient Indus Valley)
Posted on 04/13/2007 11:03:16 AM PDT by blam
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.
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.
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.
must have been aliens !!!
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.
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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.
As it should be for a 13th.
And noah was a farmer in that area who got washed out to sea on his 3 layer log raft during a hurricane.
Exactly. Puts it into perspective, eh?
***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?
Not by that manufacturer :-) But just look up “asphalt” and you’ll get it.
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!
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.
Uh-oh. I was hoping no one would bring up... [suspense soundtrack] *Friday the 13th*!
Didn’t say a peep about Friday.
:’) 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...
Not until you walk under the ladder.