Ancient hydraulic works

Hagia Triadha sewage

Hydrosystem:Hagia Triada
Use: Urban Drainage
Construction era: Minoan-Cycladic
Types: Sewer Pipes
Operation era: Minoan-Cycladic
Location: Greece - Crete island - Hagia Triadha -villa
  • Angelakis, A. N., D. Koutsoyiannis, and G. Tchobanoglous, Urban wastewater and stormwater technologies in ancient Greece, Water Research, 39(1), 210-220, 2005.
  • M.K. Chatzakis, A.G.Lyrintzis and A.N.Angelakis, Sedimentation Tanks through the Ages, 1st IWA International Symposium on WATER AND WASTEWATER TECHNOLOGIES IN ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS, edited by A. N. Angelakis and D. Koutsoyiannis, Greece, 757-761, 2006.

The “stabilization and sedimentation tanks” found in the palace of Phaistos, in Knossos, in Tyllisos, and in the of Agia Triada villa also indicate that ancient Minoans were aware of the need of treatment to ensure water of appropriate quality. There is substantial historical evidence suggesting that ancient Minoans were among the first have used wastewater for irrigation of agricultural land since 2700 BC. Doxiadis, (1973) reported the existence of sewages through which wastewater was transferred to land treatment sites. One of the most advanced Minoan sanitary and storm sewer systems was discovered in Hagia Triada (Aggelakis et al., 2004) 60 km southwest of Knossos palace. Researchers that visited the excavated sites and inspected the sewer system could witness that all the sewers were still functioning perfectly, after 4000 years of their construction. The sewers were leading to large (1.5 x 2 m²) stone-built sedimentation tanks that were used for the settling of the wastewater and the removal of gross solids and floating debris. One of the most advanced Minoan sanitary and storm sewer systems was discovered in Hagia Triadha (close to the south coast of Crete). The Italian writer Angelo Mosso who visited the villa of Hagia Triadha in the beginning of the 20th century and inspected the storm sewer system noticed that all the sewers of the villa functioned perfectly and was amazed to see storm water come out of sewers, 4000 years after their construction (Mosso, 1907). Gray (1940) who relates this story and quotes Mosso adds the following statement: ‘Perhaps we also may be permitted to doubt whether our modern sewerage systems will still be functioning after even one thousand years.’

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