Bronze Age Dam Irrigates Modern Farms

Bible and archaeology news

This Bronze Age dam at Alacahöyük still irrigates modern farmland. AA photos.

A 3,250-year-old Hittite dam at Alacahöyük features striking similarities to modern water management construction. Archaeologist Aykut Çınaroğlu says the dam in north-central Turkey was built for irrigation and drinking water, and the dam’s clean water is still used by local farmers today. Hittite tablets indicate that it was built under the reign of King Hattushili III or his son Tudhaliya IV in the 13th century B.C.E. and was dedicated to the goddess Hepat. Like other Hittite dams, the large clay construction was built by hand during a period of drought and famine in Late Bronze Age Anatolia, recorded in the historical record by documentation of the importation of wheat from Egypt and evinced by dendrochronological archaeological evidence. However, unlike its contemporaries, the water source for the Alacahöyük dam is located inside the dam’s reservoir, and as a result, it hasn’t run dry over the course of the past three millennia. Professor Çınaroğlu told the Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News that “The dam had been used to provide water for animals for thousands of years. Analyses have shown that its water is very clean. It could even be sold under the name Hittite water.”


Read more in Hurriyet Daily News
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Interested in ancient water systems? Read “Ancient Reservoir Provided Water for First Temple Period Jerusalem” in Bible History Daily.

Interested in the Hittites? Read the full article The Last Days of Hattusa: The Mysterious Collapse of the Hittite Empire by Trevor Bryce online for free in Bible History Daily.

During the Late Bronze Age (1500–1200 B.C.E.), the Eastern Mediterranean boasted a flourishing network of grand empires. An interregional destruction known as the Bronze Age collapse is one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries. Learn more in the Bible History Daily article Bronze Age Collapse: Pollen Study Highlights Late Bronze Age Drought.

Posted in News, The Ancient Near Eastern World.

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8 Responses

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  1. D. says

    The Daily News says nothing about the dam’s water still being used. This was an archaeological dig–the whole dam was buried.

  2. Noah says

    D.: The dam’s reopening happened before this recent news article. Look around the internet for info on the dam, such as the page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaca_H%C3%B6y%C3%BCk

  3. Andrew says

    Can you increase the font size? And also include that in many other articles on the Website. The words are too small. I have three pairs of glasses, and it’s still difficult to read. Looks like an interesting article though. Thanks.

  4. HANS PETER says

    To Andrews: I share your problem with finding the font sizes here and on many other sites too small to read even without strong glasses. One remedy is to change the zoom level. In Windows XP you can adjust this in the bottom right corner of the screen where the default says 100 percent. If that is not enough, use the built-in magnifier at All Programs/Accessories/Accessibility/Magnifier. Click on it to create a shortcut and move that shortcut icon to your taskbar so you launch it with a single click from there. This does not cure the apparent inability of some would-be web designers to post readable text — you cannot cure stupid, but you can work around it. Good luck!

  5. udumula says

    It is nothing but miracle that still exists.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. 3,250 Years Later, It Still Works | EleBlog linked to this post on November 9, 2012

    [...] Hittites build a dam 3,250 years ago, in north-central Turkey. According to this article, “the dam’s clean water is still used by farmers [...]

  2. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses – Part 1 | WhyJesus linked to this post on November 9, 2012

    [...] footnotes to Plato. If he’s not ancient, nobody is! I was even reading, recently, about a Bronze Age water dam that’s still in use! My car won’t last as long as me yet a civilization over 3,000 years [...]


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