Ancient hydraulic works

Aptera cistern

Hydrosystem:Crete Island
Use: Urban Water Supply
Construction era: Roman
Types: Cistern
Operation era: Roman
Location: Greece - Crete
  • Y. Gorokhovich, A. Alexopoulos, V. Gikas, P. Gikas and A. N. Anelakis: Water Supply and Use in the Roman City of Aptera, Crete, Hellas: The Mystery of the Ancient Water System, IWA Specialized Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations, Turkey 2012

In Ancient Aptera the main resource of water were large public tanks or small private cisterns which collected rainwater. One of those cisterns was an L-shaped cistern with total volume of 3050 cubic meters and another one was a rectangular tri-isle cistern with total volume of 2900 cubic meters. Five smaller cisterns with volume ranged from 8 – 12 cubic meters , were located in several places in the city. The depth of the cistern varies between 5 and 7 depending on the elevation of their location and they were found within 50-200 meters from the L-shaped cistern. Their floor consisted by ceramic tiles on the bottom, a volcanic rock in the middle and marble plates on the top. The L-shaped cistern was located higher than the other structures and it was the main water storage that supplied water to cisterns and the thermae. It’s approximated that a single rain storm would result an amount of 522 cubic meters, therefore, would be required at least 6 storms to fill up the L-shaped cistern.

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