The preferred source of water in Classical Greece is a natural perennial spring. Failing this, rainwater has to be conserved in cisterns, or raised from wells. Improvement of natural water supplies leads to the construction of fountain‐houses, where water is fed through spouts (normally decorated in the form of a lion's head) into drawbasins; such constructions are usually placed behind architectural façades with a roof to shade (and keep cool) the drawbasins. These already existed in the 6th cent. bc (Enneakrounos at Athens, built by Pisistratus). Pirene at Corinth was successively improved from Archaic to Roman times. The use of terracotta pipes and built or rock‐cut conduits to lead water from a spring to a locality where it was needed develops from the Archaic period (see aqueduct).
Cisterns may be rock‐cut, but generally have to be lined with cement to retain water. They may be fed from rainwater trapped on roofs, or on the ground surface, led into settling tanks for cleaning before storage.
See aqueducts and nymphaeum.
Subjects: Classical Studies — History.