Man’s control over the elements of land and water for the purposes of agriculture was fundamental to the development of civilisations in the past, and remains so today. This volume deals with the processes of irrigation, and land drainage and reclamation, and illustrates the variety of technological and engineering solutions in a wide chronological and geographical perspective. The sophistication of many pre-modern systems is clear, as is the impact of modern technologies. Important points that emerge are that there was no steady or linear progression in techniques across time - instances of the transfer of ideas are balanced by cases of independent development - and that the correlations between irrigation systems and social structures demand more complex explanations than often proposed.
Table of Contents
Contents; Introduction; Ancient Irrigation: Ancient irrigation and water management in the Indian Ocean region, K.N. Chaudhuri; Irrigation and land use in ancient Mesopotamia, Jacob W. Gruber; Irrigation In Europe And The Middle East: Water and soil from the desert: some ancient agricultural achievements in the central Negev, Yehuda Kedar; Roman dams in Tripolitania, Claudio Vita-Finzi; Hydraulic technology in al-Andalus, Thomas F.Glick; Giovanni Francesco Sitoni, an hydraulic engineer of the Renaissance, José A. GarcÃa-Diego; Irrigation in Norway and elsewhere in Northern Europe, Peter Michelsen; Land Drainage And Reclamation In Europe: History of the reclamation of the western fenlands and of the organisations to keep them drained, H. van der Linden; Land drainage and reclamation, L.E. Harris; Le marais Poitevin, R. d’Hollander; Boulton and Watt and the Norfolk marshland, Norman Mutton; The engineering works of John Grundy, 1719-1783, A.W . Skempton; The drainage and reclamation of the Somerset levels, 1770-1833, M. Williams; Irrigation In America And Asia: Surveying and hydraulic engineering of the pre-Columbian ChimÃº state: ad 900-1450, C.R. Ortloff; Technology change in a traditional society: the case of the desagÃ¼e in colonial Mexico, Louisa Schell Hoberman; Irrigation, agriculture and the landlord in early modern Japan, Isao Hatate; Water control in the Dongting Lake region during the Ming and Qing periods, Peter C. Perdue; Contributions of the British to irrigation engineering in upper India in the 19th century, Joyce M. Brown; Index.
'The aim of Ashgate's twelve volume series is to bring together collections of important papers on particular topics from scholarly journals, conference proceedings and other hard-to-access sources. This is a wholly laudable objective. Some of the papers in the volume under review [The Civil Engineering of Canals and Railways before 1850] cannot be found even in abundantly-resourced academic libraries. The series opens up, directly or indirectly, debates over the nature of historical evidence which arise from the profoundly different approaches to the past of historians of technology, whose works are principally represented in these volumes, industrial archaeologists and social and economic historians.' Industrial Archaeology Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1