Water in the Desert and the Ports

Steven E. Sidebotham

in Berenike and the Ancient Maritime Spice Route

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780520244306
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948389 | DOI:
Water in the Desert and the Ports

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Methods used for water acquisition, storage, protection, and distribution in Ptolemaic and Roman times in the Eastern Desert were undoubtedly similar to those employed in the Pharaonic era. Water was important in human living or traveling through the Eastern Desert. The primary transport and pack animals used in the Eastern Desert in Ptolemaic and Roman times were donkeys and camels. There are several sources for acquiring surface-water runoff and subsurface water in the Eastern Desert; these two sources of water are discussed. Conduits were used for water acquisition and distribution. The desert cultivation was probably widespread in antiquity in the region. Most of the water management at road installations was the responsibility of the military in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. There must have been a large upsurge in water usage at the mines and quarries in the Eastern Desert, especially in the early Roman period and again in late Roman times.

Keywords: water acquisition; storage; protection; distribution; Ptolemaic period; Roman period; Eastern Desert; ports

Chapter.  17569 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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