Ancient hydraulic works

Knossos wells

Use: Urban Water Supply
Construction era: Minoan-Cycladic
Types: Well
Operation era: Minoan-Cycladic
Location: Greece - Crete island - Knossos palace
  • Angelakis, A. N., and D. Koutsoyiannis, Water and wastewater technologies in ancient civilizations: Prolegomena, Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 7(1), vii-ix, 2007.

Moreover, from the palatial era, a Middle Minoan terracotta collar of a well found at House A in the “Little Palace” at Knossos –at short distance from the Palace- bears an impression in Linear A (Evans, 1930). This is suggestive of a palatial control and planning. This is indicative of the accumulated knowledge and social storage that forced sophisticated applications in order to deal with specific environmental conditions. However, the mere architectural plan and the “palaces” and specific features like the flat rooftops, the light-wells and the open areas and courts facilitate a role of water catchment. All the Minoan “palaces” must have functioned as water catchment mechanisms in order to overcome both problems of water supply storm water drainage. In addition to that, different applications of water supply were used according to local conditions, resulting thus a “regionalism” in the treatment of water management. The Palace of Phaistos was primarily depended on precipitation, that at Knossos on springs and the one at Zakros on groundwater abstraction (Angelakis and Spyridakis, 1996). Every different treatment was combined with water catchment providing a viable and efficient solution in the need of water. A sort of plan should have existed to overcome problems related to matters of proper use and consumption of water and to successive destructions of aqueducts, wells, cisterns etc. due to earthquakes or fire. This agenda is suggested to be applied by elite that performed a coordinating and controlling role in terms of knowledge and division of labour. Consequently, the binary control of water and its conspicuous consumption gave prestige to the parts involved and primarily to the elite.

External links:

Except where otherwise noted, the text and the pictures are copyright by their respective authors. The entire compilation is
(C) 2009-2010 National Technical University of Athens
Except where otherwise noted, permission is hereby granted to copy, distribute and modify this work, either in part or the entire compilation, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike license version 3.0.