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The know-how, administration, and tradition of water in historical Iran from prehistoric occasions to the Islamic Golden Age

The know-how, administration, and tradition of water in historical Iran from prehistoric occasions to the Islamic Golden Age

2023-04-24 12:44:42

After defining the analysis subject and its aims, information assortment was preceded by trying to find desired phrases, various phrases, and mixtures of phrases decided based mostly on the analysis scope, the writer’s background data, and related research’ key phrases. A number of search engines like google have been used to find the chosen phrases, together with Science Direct, Taylor & Francis, Springer, Scopus, Google Books, and Google Scholar for worldwide paperwork, in addition to Iranian Scientific Data Database (SID), IranDoc, Civilica, Normgaz, and MagIran for nationwide paperwork. The search process was repeated a number of occasions to acquire new sources. In complete, 460 paperwork have been reviewed for credibility and content material, and 242 have been grouped based mostly on the matters and interval they coatedFootnote 1. Afterward, comparative historic analysis is carried out to find out the standing of the water from prehistoric occasions till the tip of the Islamic Golden Age (i.e., the tip of the Khwarazmian rule). This era was chosen for the analysis as a result of, in three vital moments throughout this time (i.e., the Achaemenid, Sassanid, and Islamic eras), Iran skilled vital modifications in administration, know-how, growth, and water tradition. Within the subsequent step, historic sources have been summarized and consolidated. Our closing stage consisted of decoding the water-related occasions and their relationship to conclude.

The data of the historical past of water in Iran is based primarily on archaeological traces, residues, and stays (texts, tablets, artifacts, materials tradition), and different ethnographic observations (authentic or translated) from completely different historic intervals. Nonetheless, in a politically turbulent and geo-climatically heterogeneous nation like Iran, cultural heritages, historic paperwork, and archeological information are prone to gradual or instantaneous deterioration from pure components (e.g., weathering, flooding, storms, earthquakes, temperature variations, rockfall, and landslide) and human damaging components (e.g., improper website administration, developmental disturbances, land-use change, unlawful excavations, navy actions, burning of libraries and archives, political tensions, and suppression of ethnic and non secular beliefs). In a logical course of, a previous occasion must be witnessed, then the observations recorded, the file preserved for various intervals of time, then discovered, and eventually understood. Quite a lot of historic proof, due to this fact “can not actually ever change into obtainable, however such silence can’t be used to justify the conclusion that the absence of proof is proof of absence. In lots of circumstances, archaeological and historic supplies haven’t been completely studied or dated with excessive confidence. For example, many historical clay tablets and administrative information stay intact as a result of political and scientific causes. Persepolis Fortification Tablets, dated again to 492–457 BC within the reign of Darius the Nice, are attribute examples of the Achaemenid information, most of which haven’t been translated (Root, 1997). Of the ~30,000 clay tablets (10,000 intact items, 10,000 kind of full ones, and doubtless greater than 10,000 fragments), 2100 texts have been transcribed, interpreted, and revealed (Jones and Stolper, 2008). Whereas Iranians have been writing historical past for the reason that Achaemenid interval, most historic assets, particularly these of pre-Islamic occasions, have been authored by non-native historians. Their lack of familiarity with Iranian customs and tradition would possibly have an effect on portraying Iran’s previous. Consequently, in some circumstances, the ignorance, which improved our data of water situations prior to now, is obvious.

Research space description

With an space of 1,648,195 km2, IranFootnote 2 lies between 44° 02′ E and 63° 20′ E longitude and 25° 03′ N to 39° 46′ N latitudeFootnote 3. It stretches from [i] the north to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea, [ii] the east to Pakistan and Afghanistan, [iii] the south to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, and [iv] the west to Turkey and Iraq (Fig. 1). Almost a 3rd of the nation’s 8334 km border is a water border. Iran is mountainous and tough, coated by the Northern Alborz and Western Zagros Mountain ranges (Jamali, 2021). Basically, the nation’s soil will not be appropriate for large-scale agriculture. In Iran, 11.2% of the land is cultivated (Ehlers, 2021). Salt sterile desert (19.7%), pure pastures/rangelands (48.1), forests (8.7%), industrial/residential areas (7.3%), and water our bodies (5%) encompass the remnant (Mousavi et al., 2020).

Fig. 1: Map of Iran exhibiting the provinces.
figure 1

By dimension and inhabitants, Iran is ranked seventeenth and 18th on the earth. Roughly three-fourths of Iran’s inhabitants resides in city areas, principally in water-rich areas of northwestern, western, and northern Iran. Out of 31 provinces, Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan are the driest, whereas Gilan and Mazandaran are the wettest. Khuzestan and Ardebil have the very best and lowest temperatures, respectively.

Iran has all kinds of weather conditions. Local weather variability arises from the area’s dimension, kind of air lots that enter, geographical latitude, topographical altitude, and land place to water our bodies. Iran’s several types of local weather embrace hyper-arid areas (~35.5% of the entire space) within the central and southeastern elements, arid areas (~29.2%), and semi-arid areas (~20.1%) within the southern, japanese, and northeastern elements, Mediterranean local weather (~5%) within the west, and humid to hyper-humid areas (~10.2%) on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea (Amiri and Eslamian, 2010). The typical annual temperature (1973–2018) is 17.6 °C (Economics, 2019). The whole annual rainfall is averaged at 228 mm (a fourth of the world’s common)Footnote 4, with 50% falling in winter (comparable to the minimal water demand), 23% in spring, 23% in autumn, and 4% in summer season (comparable to the utmost water demand) (Economics, 2019). To justify the temporal distribution of precipitation, it’s obligatory to explain the efficient air lots within the nation. Within the scorching seasons, subtropical high-pressure air lotsFootnote 5 affect Iran, whereas, within the chilly seasons, low-pressure air lots develop within the Mediterranean SeaFootnote 6 and SudanFootnote 7. Furthermore, South Asian monsoon air lots enter the nation from the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman, affecting a small southeastern a part of the nation in the summertime. For these causes, Iran usually enjoys chilly/moist and scorching/dry climates in winter and summer season, respectively (Zarrin and Dadashi-Roudbari, 2021). Such situations may be exacerbated by high-altitude variations between the plains and mountainous areas. From a geographical view, total, the precipitation ranges from lower than 20 mm/yr within the southeast, east, and central elements to greater than 1000 mm/yr on the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea (Mousavi, 2005). One other vital spatiotemporal consider water availability is evaporation. The annual common evaporation ranges between 1,500 and a pair of,000 mm, practically thrice the worldwide common. A big amount of the annual rainfall (70%) quite than getting used or percolated (IPBO, 2020). The rainfall scarcity and a excessive evaporation fee are the first motive for low water circulation. One of many penalties is that rivers in Iran are primarily ephemeral with small discharges and haven’t been distributed often.

Water’s significance in prehistoric Iran

The Iranian Plateau was dwelling to early fashionable people who dispersed from Africa between 90,000 and 50,000 years in the past through the Center-Paleolithic of the Stone Age (Delson, 2019). The oldest-known artifacts from the Center-Paleolithic, similar to stone instruments, have been found at [i] the Varvasi Cave within the Dinurab River BasinFootnote 8, [ii] Yafteh Cave within the Khorramabad River ValleyFootnote 9, [iii] Kashaf-rudFootnote 10 website alongside the Kashaf-rud River BasinFootnote 11, and [iv] Ganj Par website across the Sefid-rud RiverFootnote 12, signifying the human existence in water-rich areas of western and north of Iran (Vigne et al., 2005). Within the sixth and fifth Millenniums BC, the earliest sparse and dispersed villages (e.g., Tape Chahar BonehFootnote 13, Chogha BonutFootnote 14, Ali KoshFootnote 15, Ganj DarehFootnote 16, TapeFootnote 17 PardisFootnote 18, Cheshmeh AliFootnote 19, Tape SialkFootnote 20 North, Interval I, Tape ZaghahFootnote 21, and Tape SarabFootnote 22) emerged in southwestern, western, and northwestern Iran, the place perennial water our bodies, rainfall, and fertile alluvial soils allowed agrarian societies to flourish (Alizadeh, 2003; Gap, 2004; Zeder and Hesse, 2000). Within the meantime, the earliest domestication of animals started within the Taurus and Zagros MountainsFootnote 23 (Farzadmehr and Nazari Samani, 2009; Riehl et al., 2013). Nomadic pastoralism was practiced in southwest Iran within the early phases of domestication (Helmer et al., 2005; Zeder, 2008; Gallego-Llorente et al., 2016). The start of irrigation agriculture in Iran is dated to 5220–4990 BC (Farzadmehr and Nazari Samani, 2009). Irrigation administration was probably organized on the extent of household or kinship teams, targeted on merely breaching the levee of pure watercourses. As a result of arid to semi-arid local weather situations, crop cultivation in prehistoric Iran had been closely targeted on rain-fed winter crops, sowing in October/November, and harvesting in April and Might.

Farmland grew in dimension as agriculture and domestication elevated. Later growth led to social differentiation, permitting some group members to interact in off-farm actions similar to development, mining, woodworking, metalworking, buying and selling, stone reducing, and different companies. Within the interval between 4500 and 3200 BC, city landscapes, similar to JiroftFootnote 24, Shahr-e SukhtehFootnote 25, Tape YahyaFootnote 26, Tape Sialk (South), Tape Pardis, Tape HissarFootnote 27, and Tape GhabristanFootnote 28 have been primarily shaped alongside pure watercourses (Ghrishman, 1987; Manuel et al., 2014). There’s a common rule for settlement growth; the extra entry to perennial water assets, the larger the potential for settlement growth. On this regard, Ghrishman (1987) considers the arid and semi-arid areas of the Central Plateau as one of the crucial difficult areas in Iran for prehistoric growth. In accordance with him, the geography and local weather of the Central Plateau have been harsh and austere. The oases have been unfold out over tough terrain; the inhabitants was sparse and scattered. As a result of unreliability of water, the city revolution was delayed, and society remained in a prehistoric state for tons of of years (Ghrishman, 1987).

Regardless of all the advantages, dwelling on floodplains had vital disadvantages. Due to drought and flood occasions, shrinking and disappearing water our bodies, panorama degradation, and modifications in river programs, most early settlements have been intermittently occupied. Lowland alluvial rivers, deltas, and alluvial followers, the place early settlements have been positioned, may need undergone aggradation as a result of altering climates, water volumes, and tectonic actions. In response to sediment aggradation and subsequent incision, a comparatively unstable river system emerged, the place river programs shifted over time, leading to river terraces of differing ages. With time, individuals dwelling on river banks wanted to relocate and handle their residences to cope with this problem. It implies that the locality and inhabitants of early communities have modified, as have watercourses. There may be some irregularity within the quantity, dimension, or perform of the settlements on the alluvial fan of the Jajrud River within the Tehran Plain, evidenced by the chalcolithic websites MafinabadFootnote 29 and Tape Pardis (Manuel et al., 2014). This level can also be supported by the completely documented website of Cheshmeh-Ali, close to Shahr-e ReyFootnote 30, which extends from the Late Neolithic interval to the Chalcolithic interval with multiple section of settlement.

Floods have been one of the crucial vital occasions that affected prehistoric Iran’s social and demographic growth. Geomorphological, climatological, and anthropogenic components have been the first contributing components to those occasions. Though heavy rainfall and melting snow have historically been vital causes of flooding in Iran, giant river’‘ meander patterns might worsen flooding. In flat areas like alluvial plains, the river circulation velocity drastically decreases, and river sediments deposit. Sediment deposition causes the river’s elevation to rise, permitting it to flood. Flooding is likely to be brought about or exacerbated by local weather change, adopted by land-use and deforestation modifications. Nemati et al. (2020) offered an instance of such an occasion. In accordance with them, Iran’s local weather modified to a temperate and humid regime within the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic intervals (6200–4300 BC). Because of this era, the variety of early settlements elevated, deforestation occurred, and the land was transformed into agricultural fields. Floods have been brought on by each elevated rainfall and deforestation. Gillmore et al. (2009) verify flooding throughout Late Neolithic Iran via sedimentological and archaeological observations on the fluvial deposits of the Tape Pardis website. Many prehistoric communities (e.g., Tape Zagheh, Sialk, Chogh Bount, Ganj Dareh, Cheshmeh Ali) developed throughout the identical interval as Tape Padis; they have been doubtless flooded as nicely.

The earliest shapes of settlements have been very susceptible to extreme local weather modifications and water shortages over lengthy intervals. Walker and Fattahi (2011) have proven that elevated aridity slowed the evolution of the panorama and negatively impacted japanese Iranian society. Lawler (2011) means that Shahr-e Sukhteh, an outdated Bronze Age settlement in southeast Iran, was deserted after extended droughts on the finish of the threerd Millennium BC, following the Helmand Delta drying up. This era of drought coincided with the collapse of Bam, a Bronze Age settlement twice the dimensions of Shahr-e Sukhteh (Walker and Fattahi, 2011). The inhabitants of the arid areas started to handle water shortage by bettering their water programs quite than abandoning their properties. Between 2800 and 1100 BC, through the emergence of the primary city-states, modest dimension water programs have been designed to gather, retailer, and provide water, indicating a comparatively centralized water administration system. One of the vital putting manifestations of this pattern has been within the west and southwest of Iran, the place settlements have been established inside the fertile and adequately irrigated province of Khuzestan. On this area, the low-gradient meandering KarunFootnote 31, KarkhehFootnote 32, JarrahiFootnote 33, ShavurFootnote 34, and DezFootnote 35 rivers circulation in intensive floodplains, overlain by dense alluvial deposits. Meander cut-offs (oxbow lakes), marshes, and deserted streams are developed alongside these rivers. This space, nevertheless, is prone to low, erratic rainfall and drought; primarily irrigated agriculture was possible. Therefore, a posh of water programs, together with canals of varied sizes (a central canal and a community of secondary, tertiary, quaternary, and subject canals), head-gates, distributors, regulators, inlets and shops, weirs, levees, and storage reservoirs was designed to make sure full irrigation (Tamburrino, 2010).

Water in early historic Iran

Each rural and concrete growth in Khuzestan depended upon cautious water administration. Susa, one of many oldest-known proto-cities of the Center East, occupied the fertile Susiana Plain among the many Karkheh, Shavur, and Dez rivers. The formation of Susa adopted the abandonment of a close-by metropolis referred to as “Chogha Mish” This metropolis was a well-organized settlement with water wells, wastewater services, cesspitsFootnote 36, and stormwater drainage programs (Alizadeh, 2008). Historical canals and waterways have been constructed round Susa to facilitate the switch of water from the rivers (Viollet, 2017). Throughout wet seasons and nice floods, there was a substantial quantity of sediment launched into the plain by these rivers (Tamburrino, 2010). In ~1250 BC, the primary multipurpose hydraulic construction was constructed to deal with and take away particles from water on the “Chogha Zanbil Advanced” Elam’s non secular middle (Semsar Yazdi and Askar Zadeh, 2007; Sadr, 2017) (Fig. 2). Water is transferred and picked up from surrounding canals right into a 337 m3 water storage (10.70 m in size, 7.25 m in width, and 4.35 m in peak) (Ghirshman, 1966; Partani and Heidary, 2017). There was an inlet canal, two sidewalls, and a brick entrance wall within the reservoir, insulated with a layer of pure bitumen. Water was saved and handled within the reservoir because it handed via varied sand and gravel deposits (Gholikandi et al., 2013). 9 conduits on the backside of the entrance wall transport the handled water to a basin. The conduits had two inclined surfaces. Every conduit was 0.8 meters aside. As a result of larger elevation of the basin in comparison with the conduits, earthy supplies have been faraway from the water. The filtered water was diverted to the temple as soon as the pond had been absolutely replenished. Within the temple, water was distributed via canals used for rituals of worship and purification.

Fig. 2: The remaining of a water therapy system in “Chogha Zanbil” Advanced, Khuzestan, Iran.
figure 2

a Entrance facet view: Water was saved and desilted within the reservoir with a capability of 337 m3 (10.70 m × 7.25 m × 4.35 m). b Again facet view: The filtered water was transferred to a pond via 9 conduits. When the pond was absolutely recharged, the filtered water was distributed by a community of canals (Adopted from Naghsh Avaran Toos Consulting Engineers Firm, 2013).

In Susa, one of many earliest water-related rules was unearthed, issued by the sixth ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabi (1792–1750 BC)Footnote 37 (Veenhof, 1995). In Hammurabi’s Code, water-related provisions are particularly addressed in a number of provisions (Gasche, 1998). On this regard, commonalities between Hammurabi’s Code ideas and the Achaemenid rules, significantly the inscriptions of Darius the Nice, counsel that they have been conscious of Hammurabi’s Code ideasFootnote 38 (Holden, 2019).

Iran’s prehistoric and protohistoric societies relied closely on irrigated agriculture. Therefore, main farming communities and proto-cities grew round floor water assets. The best problem to built-in water administration was the absence of a central authorities answerable for fixing large-scale water-related issues. For big-scale water administration in any respect ranges, there have to be a cautious consideration of all associated elements, similar to technical, institutional, societal, monetary, and infrastructural. It was a spot that the Iranians might fill through the Achaemenid civilization.

Water within the Achaemenid Empire

In 550 BC, Cyrus the Nice established the First Persian Empire (the second Iranian empire-based Dynasty after the Median Dynasty) referred to as the Achaemenid Dynasty within the land of “Pars” or “Persis” (Sampson, 2005). The Persians got here to energy, grew to become probably the most intensive empire globally, and led to 330 BC with Alexander III of Macedon defeating Darius III, the final Achaemenid king. With the arrival of the Achaemenids, Iran was present process basic modifications. These alterations have been seen in lots of social, cultural, financial, technological, and institutional areas. Throughout their 220 years of rule, the luxurious growth of the Achaemenids in all domains was largely dependent upon large-scale government-managed waterworks and vice versa. Within the following, we offer a short portrayal of the vital components and situations associated to the event of water assets on this period.

Initially of the Achaemenid kingdom, there have been many ethnic tribes round Iran. In accordance with Kuhrt (2013), some individuals have been sedentary, engaged in on-farm (land preparation, cultivation, irrigation, harvesting), off-farm (processing, packaging, storage, transporting, and distributing merchandise), and non-farm actions (development, mining, woodworking, metalworking, buying and selling, stone reducing, and different companies). Some tribes have been nomads, guided by tribal legal guidelines and traditions. Nomad individuals have been cattle-breeders who moved for pastures (Garthwaite, 2008; Shahpour Shahbazi, 2011). Different nomadic tribes have been semi-nomadic. They typically keep in a selected place for an expanded time except drought and water shortage power them to maneuver. Though agricultural sedentism dominated Iran even earlier than the Achaemenian Empire, nomad tribes performed a extra colourful position in some sides. Nomadism was a wonderful indication of how Iranians tailored to their arid and semi-arid climates. Undeniably, flexibility had a vital position within the nomad’s life. Nomads targeted on producing varied dairy merchandise and agricultures made cereals, fibers, fruits, cottonseed, and flax (Garthwaite, 2008). The principle distinction between nomadism and agricultural sedentism was that farmers have been extra depending on the sphere than on pasture. Each widespread denominators have been the necessity to water, a beneficial and scarce asset.

Earlier than the Achaemenids, the clans and tribes have been generally vying and struggling to acquire their advantages (Beigzadeh, 2019; Bayani, 2002). Water, land, and pasture have been integral to the tribe’s lives; they have to be fought for, upheld, and defended. Every territory possessed its management, weapons, requisite expertise, and tradition to mount a protection for shielding these beneficial assets. Inner and exterior conflicts weren’t with out penalties. These led to diminished consideration to the nation’s total sectors, inflicting a large number and destabilization. The Achaemenids, realizing that growth in all elements requires inside safety, have been capable of pave the way in which for water growth by establishing stability.

The important thing to the Achaemenid rule was the novel innovation of treating varied ethnicities with tolerance, equality, and pluralism (Balatti, 2021). Creating unity and safety between completely different Iranian ethnic teams turned a web page within the historical past of Iran, offering partnerships for progress in all dimensions. In regards to the financial, well being, cultural, and non secular significance of water amongst Iranians, the Achaemenids perceived that creating water assets has a vital position in creating peace, selling co-existence, and lasting stability amongst all Iranian ethnic teams.

Many of the Achaemenid’s kings and advisors have been shrewd politicians and farsighted state builders. They knew very nicely that the large-scale growth of water was past the attain of strange individuals. The development and administration of mega-hydraulic infrastructures have been time-consuming, expertize-demanding, labor-intensive, and costly, requiring a excessive stage of coordination and collaboration that would solely be set and enforced by a central governance physique. Filling this hole and related gaps was one of many causes that launched a singular system of governance, characterised by a tightly organized, centralized administration. They created a singular financial system and customary language for administration and paid a lot consideration to standardizing models, standards, and values. Benefiting from such an organized system of governance, the Achaemenids have been capable of strengthen their water insurance policies. They dug qanats and constructed dams and networks of water canals, drainage programs, and waterways with state-of-art know-how and managerial expertise, leading to agricultural productiveness, meals safety, city growth, commerce development, political stability, and cultural diversifications.

There have been many essential facilities throughout Iran. EcbatanaFootnote 39 and Susa have been two of them. Two different ones have been PasargadaeFootnote 40 and PersepolisFootnote 41, each positioned within the coronary heart of the Achaemenid’s homeland, the Province of Pars (Yamauchi, 1991). Because the Achaemenids strengthened, there was an growing demand for water provide, irrigation, flood management, and diverting water. Concerning geopolitical, non secular, and climatological causes, all consideration was on Persepolis and Pasargadae (Fig. 3). In Susa and Ecbatana, the state of affairs was completely different. In Susa, water-related infrastructures had already been constructed by earlier states. Ecbatana loved ample rainfall, permitting non-irrigated cultivation. Undoubtedly, many different water-related services had been constructed by the Achaemenids throughout Iran, both not being studied completely or destroyed completely.

Fig. 3: Geographical location of Pasargadae and Persepolis and the Achaemenid dams within the Marvdasht Plain, Fars Province.
figure 3

A Surrounded by the southern Zagros Mountains, the 160-ha archaeological website of Pasargadae, the earliest capital of the Achaemenid Empire, is positioned on the Marvdasht Plain in Fars Province. Positioned 40 km southwest of Pasargadae, Persepolis was a powerful palace advanced and the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province is positioned 60 km (37 miles) southwest of the Persepolis ruins. B The Pulvar River and its dams, together with the “Unhappy-i Alafi-1 Dam,” “Unhappy-i Alafi-2 Dam,” “Unhappy-i Shahidabad Dam,” “Unhappy-i Tang-e Saadatshahr Dam,” and “Unhappy-i Didegan Dam.” Upon passing the tomb of Cyrus, the Pulvar River reaches Persepolis, creating an crucial hyperlink between the 2 websites (Map B is predicated on the worldwide SRTM DEM created by Ertsen and De Schacht, 2013). Edited by Microsoft paint, Home windows 8, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows.

The place Cyrus the Nice carried out his coronation, Pasargadae lies on the Marvdasht PlainFootnote 42 in present-day Fars Province. In a straight line, Persepolis is 40 km to the southwest of Pasargadae with an altitude of 1770 m.a.s.l. (Godard, 1962). Initially of the spring season, when the Persians celebrated their New 12 monthsFootnote 43 in Persepolis, the Marvdasht Plain loved a light and nice local weather. Nonetheless, not like the stunning spring, the plain’s local weather is semi-arid based mostly on at present’s climate situations, with a median annual rainfall of 343 mm. The Kor River runs completely from the northwest to southeast throughout the plain and discharges into the Bakhtegan Lake. The Pulvar StreamFootnote 44, the principle tributary of the Kor River, flows via the plain from northeast to south-southwest and flows into the Kor River at Khan BridgeFootnote 45 (Shahpour Shahbazi, 2011).

For the reason that Marvdasht Plain’s river stage was decrease than the encompassing areas, it was unimaginable to make use of any water from the streams with out synthetic help and technical installations. Additionally, the drainage system in mountainous areas was poor, and most basins skilled abrupt floods. The steep slopes of hillsides and small-scale alluvial followers, the place the channel conveyance capability of rivers is low, enhance the chance of flash floods. Canal destruction and sedimentation have been among the many vital issues of floods, so abandoning water canals and constructing new ones have been extra snug than fixing them. Large networks of diversion and irrigation canals have been wanted to divert floodwater and irrigate croplands. Thus, the Achaemenids established many dams, reservoirs, and networks of water canals to maintain rivers protected, retailer floodwater, divert circulation, and provide water.

In Fars Province, the “Ramjerd” Dam, “Darius Dam”Footnote 46, “Bande-Sang Dokhtaran,” and a group of 5 different dams, together with the “Unhappy-i Alafi-1 Dam,” “Unhappy-i Alafi-2 Dam,” “Unhappy-i Tang-e Saadatshahr Dam,” “Unhappy-i Shahidabad Dam,” and “Unhappy-i Didegan Dam,” have been constructed with the Achaemenids on the Kor River headstream (Mays, 2010; De Schacht et al., 2012; Ertsen and De Schacht, 2013; Karami and Talebiyan, 2015). Aside from the Unhappy-i Shahidabad Dam, located on a perennial river, the rests at the moment are in dry riverbeds. The Unhappy-i Didegan Dam is an embankment dam with a watershed space of 46 km2, constructed within the Early Achaemenid interval with earth supplies. The dam dimensions are 105 m in width, 21 m in peak, and a crown size of 105 mFootnote 47 (De Schacht et al., 2012). There are traces of a recharging waterway within the higher elements and a management construction used to stabilize water circulation (Ertsen and De Schacht, 2013). Within the dam’s structure, common stone blocks have been linked with swallow-tailed iron clamps coated by molten leadFootnote 48 (Shahpour Shahbazi, 2011). All of the stones have been native and quarried on the spot. The dam construction is much like “Unhappy-el Kafarathe Dam,” in-built the threerd Millennium BC by the traditional Egyptians for flood management (Smith, 1971).

One other main dam, Unhappy-i Shahidabad, was constructed on the Pulvar River within the “Tangeh Bolaghi Space” in Fars Province (Ertsen and De Schacht, 2013). This dam has dimensions of 590 m in width, 15 m excessive, and a crown size of 700 m, the place its watershed has an space of 4,900 km. The Unhappy-i Didegan and Unhappy-i Shahidabad dams have related canal designs and management buildings (De Schacht et al., 2012). Contemplating the standard type of stones, exact engineering, and distinctive architectural system, it’s clear that the engineers who constructed the Achaemenid dams had sufficient expertise to think about varied engineering parameters for dam development.

The Achaemenids realized that rainfall and rivers of their territory have been inadequate for a safe water provide. Like different historical civilizations, the Achaemenids used water-lifting gadgets for irrigation and home water provide. Hand-operated or animal-powered water-lifting machines have been commonplace in Iran. The water-lifting fee for a typical animal-powered waterwheel diversified between 480 m3/d (1.5 m peak of water carry) and 240 m3/d (9 m peak of water carry) (Molenaar, 1956). Nonetheless, nicely and qanat development was not economically or technically possible in a number of circumstances. Subsequently, they generally equipped water from spring sources via subterranean or open canals. For example, an extended underground channel within the Persepolis Advanced transferred the springs’ water (Mays, 2010). Waterways have been normally excavated into the hill’s slope, which dominated the platform to gather and convey rainwater from the mountain to the simple, avoiding injury to the advanced (Holden, 2019). Canals have been coated with tar in particular person sections to stop water seepage beneath the Persepolis platform. In addition to, the Achaemenids construct levees for flood safety, watermills for grinding wheat, canals for water transport, and reservoirs for storing water (Mays, 2010).

The constructing of the Marvdasht historic advanced and its surrounding hydraulic buildings present how the Achaemenids might set up a robust hyperlink between science, know-how, and tradition. They’d a wonderful background and understanding of hydrology, civil engineering, and different associated sciences similar to climatic hazards, mining, and concrete planning. From the climatological standpoint, they knew the rainstorm season in Fars begins at first of November and finishes on the finish of April. The snow-melting interval begins in March and ends in Might. The heavy floods most likely occurred in March and April when the snow-melting course of adopted rain storms. Two of the oldest festivals in Iran, referred to as “Nowruz” and Farvardinegan (Remembrance Day), have been held between March and April. The flood occasions might have disrupted the ceremonies, so constructing dams and related water programs have been obligatory.

Qanat system

QanatFootnote 49 consists of a number of gently sloping tunnels (galleries)Footnote 50 and a sequence of vertical shaft wells, designed to extract and switch groundwater by gravity to flatter slopes, significantly to be used in arid and semi-arid areas (Fig. 4). The tunnel has a semi-elliptical cross-section with a peak and width of about 1.2 and 0.8 meters, respectively (Beaumont, 1971). In accordance with Farzadmehr and Nazari Samani (2009), the tunnel slope needs to be between 0.3 and 0.5%, making certain a stability between extreme erosion and sedimentation of the tunnel mattress. A part of the tunnel excavated via an aquifer’s phreatic zone is the water-producing zone, and one other half that transfers water to the bottom floor is the water transport zone (Salvini, 2001). To lower water infiltration, the tunnel mattress is roofed with impermeable supplies similar to SaroojFootnote 51 and compacted clay (Pouraghniaei and Malekian, 2001).

Fig. 4: A easy schematic exhibiting a typical qanat system.
figure 4

a Cross-section: Utilizing easy hand instruments, the “mom nicely” is dug by a crew of expert qanat diggers to a stage under the groundwater desk to find the water desk and assess the standard, amount, and regularity of the groundwater circulation. The mother-well depth is determined by the water desk depth, qanat size, earth slope, and the proprietor capital for excavation, ranging between 30 m and 100 m. Between the mother-well and qanat outlet, the crew digs vertical shafts at intervals of 20 to 200 m, with a diameter of 80 and 100 cm. The shafts are used for eradicating excavated supplies from the tunnel, making certain air circulation, and offering entry for restore and upkeep. b Aerial view: Tunnel lengths within the Qanat vary from a number of hundred meters to 100 kilometers, with gradients starting from 2/1000 to five/1000. On the outlet, qanat discharge varies from 0.001 to 300 m3 per hour (on common, 60 m3 per hour). Edited by Microsoft paint, Home windows 8, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows.

Historically, discovering a dependable groundwater supply has been step one within the qanat development. To find a qanat, the data and expertize of the qanat diggerFootnote 52 are of paramount significance. The ancients presumably knew that groundwater may very well be obtained from foothills, wadies, dry riverbeds, intermountain basins, and alluvial followers (Semsar Yazdi and Labbaf Khaneiki, 2016). Panorama, anomalies in soil shade and moisture, seepage patterns, vegetation cowl, and spring discharge have been standard indicators utilized by diggers. Contemplating groundwater availability, the primary and deepest shaft named the “mother-well”Footnote 53, at a depth between 10 to 250 mFootnote 54, has been sunk into the saturated zone for finding the water desk and checking groundwater high quality, amount, and circulation regularity (Ahmadi et al., 2010). Then, alongside a line between the mother-well and the qanat outlet (look)Footnote 55, the crew dug a sequence of well-like shaftsFootnote 56 with completely different depths at intervals of 20 to 200 m to take away the excavated supplies from the principle tunnel, air circulation, and supply entry for restore and upkeep. If the soil is free and unstable, the tunnel and shaft lining is important to enhance the qanat sturdiness. The excavated soil is dumped throughout the shaft opening through the digging course of to stop floor runoff from getting into the shaft. The spoil from these entry shafts creates the distinctive doughnut-shaped rings that characterize the qanat strains (Semsar Yazdi and Askar Zadeh, 2007). Counting on gravity, water flows constantly, typically over an extended distance, from the qanat outlet to water consumption areas (farms, gardens, and settlements) and water storage services (Ab-AnbarFootnote 57 or YakhchalFootnote 58) via a community of open canals (Labbaf Khaneiki, 2020). The gap between the mother-well and the qanat outlet varies from tens of meters to a number of tens of kilometers, reaching about 80 km in one of many longest qanats in Zarach Metropolis (Kobori, 1973; Eghtedari, 1974). The climatological, topographical, hydrogeological, and technological components management the qanat discharge, which might vary from 0.001 to 300 m3 per hour (on common, 60 m3 per hour) (Kuhrt, 2013). 

The origin and outspread of the qanat have been mentioned by many researchers, similar to Kobori (1973), Wilkinson (1977), Goblot (1979), Salvini (2001), Boucharlat (2003), and Magee (2005). Nonetheless, as archaeological and non-archeological assets present scant data on the qanat’s historical past, this subject nonetheless lacks a broadly accepted speculation. Previous to the arrival of superior applied sciences, historic texts have been the one sources of reference for judging. In one of many oldest historic books, the Greek historian Polybius (200–118 BC) describes qanats through the Antiochus marketing campaignFootnote 59 towards ArsacesFootnote 60. Though this textual content discusses using qanat know-how within the Seleucid interval, it seems that this know-how was handed down from the Achaemenids to the Seleucids. Along with Polybius’ historic doc, the truth that nearly all of qanats are present in Iran has performed a decisive position in drawing the eye of researchers to Iran because the place the place the system originated.

Hogarth (1904) supplies one of many earliest traditional hypotheses concerning the qanat’s origin, stating that it was launched by the Achaemenids within the sixth century BC. Hogarth’s assumptions met with approval and have been reiterated by Laessøe (1971) and Wilkinson (1977). Goblot (1979) asserted that the traditional kingdom of Urartu was the cradle of the qanat know-how, however the Achaemenids transferred it east and west. Goblot’s speculation is proposed based mostly on some inscriptions on a badly broken pillFootnote 61, which describes the qanat system as seen by Assyrian King Sargon IIFootnote 62 in his Eighth marketing campaign towards UlhuFootnote 63, courting again to 714 BC. Gobot’s speculation, counting the idea that qanats originated from mining, had each professionals and cons. In one of the crucial outstanding criticisms, the rereading of the pill revealed that the textual content doesn’t check with qanat; it might be brought on by an inaccuracy within the translation of the outdated textual content (Salvini, 2001). Nonetheless, there’s a ignorance concerning qanats through the Achaemenid interval in Iran, in order that, additional investigates are nonetheless required to suggest a strong speculation.

In accordance with Magee (2005), a extra doubtless location for the emergence of the qanat is within the southern areas of Iran. It’s also prone to have occurred in neighboring elements of Pakistan and the Arabian Plate. Magee believes a scorching and arid local weather prevailed within the Center East through the Late Second and Early First Millennium BC. The sediment evaluation and fossil information in some elements of Pakistan and Turkey verify this speculation (Luckge et al., 2001). There may be additionally proof that settlements in southeastern Iran declined throughout this era as nicely (Wilkinson et al., 2012). On this regard, qanat could also be a response to local weather change and water scarcity. Nonetheless, correct localization, courting, and descriptions of archeological proof have been obligatory to judge this chance.

Throughout the previous many years, fashionable archeological and chronological investigations have offered new insights into the qanat’s origin and outspread. In 2002, al-Tikriti carried out a lot of archaeological and stratigraphic examinations within the Oman Peninsula that exposed one of many earliest proof of qanat programs dates from the Iron Age II, roughly between 1000 and 800 BC, round a number of centuries previous to Achaemenid rule. al-Tikriti’s description of Oman’s qanat programs revealed that, in distinction to the Achaemenid qanats, the Oman Peninsula qanats had a easy construction, a brief size, and shallow depth (al-Tikriti, 2002). Apparently, these qanats served as a template for extra refined programs that adopted. The time hole between the qanats of the Arabian Peninsula and Iran has additionally been narrowed because of different investigations. Archeological and geological observations carried out within the Khargushan areaFootnote 64 of Bam revealed a number of websites courting to the mid-first millennium BC or barely older. The Bam website was dwelling to a number of floor channels and quite a few qanats, however many of those buildings collapsed by the earthquake. Nonetheless, the chronology of a minimum of two qanats signifies a pre-Achaemenid date between 440 and 200 BC for each qanats (Boucharlat, 2014). Contemplating the truth that the qanat know-how is well-known in southeastern Iran and southeastern Arabia, it’s fascinating to invest whether or not the existence of qanat know-how in Oman and south of Iran could also be a results of the shut social ties between Iranians and Omanis on each side of the Persian Gulf.

In clarifying the worldwide distribution of qanat in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and different areas, a greater basis has been offered for additional dialogue concerning their origin and unfold. Boucharlat (2017) assumes that the qanat developed over two completely different intervals of time based mostly on its architectural and hydraulic traits. The preliminary section usually dates again to the primary millennium BC, when primitive qanats, with shallow mother-wells and quick galleries, extracted water from shallow aquifers. The second stage is characterised by a lot larger, deeper, and extra advanced qanats, designed to extract water from deep aquifers (Boucharlat, 2017). Following this proposal, two completely different paradigms have been expressed by Avni (2018) as follows [i] qanats have been invented in a single core area, both in Iran or Oman, and later subtle to giant elements of Eurasia and past; [ii] In several areas, these programs have been developed independently. Basically, Avni’s hypotheses are supported by some and opposed by others. For example, a geomorphological and archeological examine of the Ain-Manawir qanat programs within the southern Kharga Oasis of Egypt recommended that the Achaemenids performed an influential position in creating water assets and permitting everlasting settlements. On this website, a rise within the variety of water buildings was noticed across the qanats that have been dated concurrently the Achaemenid Emperor (Wilkinson et al., 2012). Nonetheless, it they may very well be constructed individually within the second half of the fifth century BC.

Whereas qanat archeology has made vital advances, there are quite a few unanswered questions. Tons of of years earlier than the rise of the Achaemenid Empire, might qanat function something aside from a supply of water (e.g., air-con)? Is it doable for qanats to be created or developed independently in several elements of the world? Is it doable for qanats to develop in multiple stage? On this regard, the deeper we perceive archeology and associated sciences, the extra doubtless we might be to find out when and the place qanats originated, the phases of their evolution, and their affect on the lives of varied societies.

From a geographical view, most historical qanats have been constructed within the central, japanese, and southeastern Iranian Plateau with insufficient inside waterways (e.g., in present-day Markazi, Kerman, Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Khorasan Razavi, South Khorasan, Isfahan, and Yazd provinces). In accordance with Briant (2002), additional growth of qanat know-how in Central Iran led to the emergence of the whole-season agriculture, thus making certain a rise in agricultural intensification, meals provide, and earnings. The qanat follow, nevertheless, was not widespread in water-rich areas (e.g., Gilan, and Mazandaran) except floor water assets have been absolutely exploited or depleted throughout long-term droughts.

There are benefits and downsides inherent within the qanat, as with all different water-related system (Desk 1). In distinction to a water nicely, the relationships between qanat homeowners, customers, and repair suppliers are sometimes advanced and intertwined; a qanat would have been excavated over an extended distance, masking the lands of tons of of households with unequal shares and rights (Kobori, 1973). In some circumstances, the linear construction of the qanats led to controversy in water distribution from upstream to downstream, significantly throughout occasions of water shortages. Water possession was additionally a priority when a qanat, constructed by an individual for a selected goal, handed beneath one other particular person’s subject. The approximation of the buffer zoneFootnote 65 alongside the route of every qanat and assessing the proprietor’s contribution in digging, sustaining, and restoring a qanat have been different sources of friction. These challenges existed not solely prior to now but additionally within the current. The Achaemenids have been conscious of this and made efforts to guard, clear up, and rehabilitate qanats via peaceable collaboration. The Achaemenids, additionally, possessed intensive data of geodesy, hydrometry, and hydraulic engineering, which enabled them to handle issues associated to the possession and allocation of qanats (Bensi, 2020). It’s also essential to notice that as a result of individuals’s dependence on qanats, the Achaemenid authorities additionally applied a number of remuneration and incentive insurance policies for renovating deserted qanats. As one of many motivational insurance policies, revivalists and their descendants have been exempt from paying taxes for the subsequent 5 generations (Semsar Yazdi and Askar Zadeh, 2007). In accordance with Nathanson (2013), Zoroastrian clergymenFootnote 66 have all the time inspired farmers to provide greater than their demand by creating their land and water assetsFootnote 67. These incentives might encourage individuals to revive their pure assets and enhance their dwelling setting by working collectively.

Desk 1 Benefits and downsides of the qanat system.

Water within the Seleucids Period and Parthian Period

Following the conquest of Iran by Alexander the Nice in 330 BC, the Iranian satrapsFootnote 68 have been ruled by varied Greek Satraps forming the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire after which the Parthian EmpireFootnote 69 (Curtis, 2007). On this period, Iran was nominally a united nation composed of some semi-independent and typically scattered states. The central authorities didn’t intervene within the inside affairs of the states besides in circumstances associated to safety and peace. In addition to, the Parthian emperors didn’t promote a single faith. Therefore, there have been no single and glued judicial rules. These components lowered consensus, unity, and cooperation amongst Iranians. Within the Early Parthian interval, the Parthians couldn’t handle water-related buildings just like the Achaemenids. Qanats and different water-related services appear to have been deserted or destroyed as a result of inside strifeFootnote 70 and wars with Rome (Ashrafi and Safdarian, 2015). In accordance with Wenke (1981), agricultural growth within the first two centuries AD was concentrated in sure well-watered areas. Subsequently, agricultural actions decreased in water-scarce areas as a result of poor water useful resource administration, inflicting environmental degradation, a decline in rural household earnings, an increase in unemployment, and development in rural-urban migration. Together with the migration, the variety of city facilities elevated; urbanization modified society and the financial system. Commerce and manufacturing actions reached their peaksFootnote 71. Later, the Sassanids made these components extra full and purposeful by increasing agriculture and creating an acceptable administrative group.

Water within the Sasanian Dynasty

The Sassanid’s rules had wonderful consideration to groundwater, particularly to points regarding the administration of qanat. The Sasanian Empire realized that the water assets administration offered them the power, stability, and sturdiness. Therefore, they established the primary particular division of water referred to as “Diwan-e Kastfezoud” (additionally named “Diwan-e Kast-Afzoud”Footnote 72), and the respecting regulation was referred to as “Namak” (Ali Abadi, 2005). The division’s duties have been creating, managing, and defending water assets, gathering water tax and tribute from all of the territories, constituting guidelines, and fixing water-related conflicts. On this respect, a set of 150 authorized paperwork, written down within the Pahlavi language, associated to judgments, contracts and possessions, tax receipts, and lists of the farmland properties has been found, translated, and printed, confirming the flexibility of the Sassanids in structuring their area (Rezakhani, 2008 and 2017). In addition to, water rights circumstances and authorized frameworks for water canals and qanats have been talked about within the Matigan-i Hazar DatistanFootnote 73.

Water useful resource administration within the Sassanid Period

As talked about above, the division of “Diwan-e Kastfezoud” within the Sassanid interval, much like the ministry of water assets within the present fashionable nations, was answerable for the event and administration of water assets of the empire. The Sassanids tried to vary the possession of qanats from non-public to the group (Gholikandi et al., 2013). Some landlords partially or completely donated the qanat paths beneath their lands to the group they served. Throughout this era, water administration was well-organized and coherent in any respect ranges, administratively and operationally. The administration roles diversified not solely in time and place but additionally in perform because the inhabitants density and the manufacturing of cash-crops elevated. There was usually a rise in governmental integration and coordination and a rise in funding in planning, organizing, and controlling water assets in areas with speedy development within the inhabitantsFootnote 74 (e.g., Gur-Ardashir-KhwarrahFootnote 75, BishapurFootnote 76, DarabgardFootnote 77) and closely irrigated agricultural heartlands (e.g., the MiyanabFootnote 78, Susiana, and Mesopotamian Plains (Moghaddam and Miri, 2007; Neely, 2011). Rice, sugarcane, cotton, and orchard fruits are among the many export crops which have benefited from improved transportation and inside safety beneath higher administrative management (Soroush, 2014). It could be obligatory, nevertheless, to ascertain irrigation programs, qanat networks, weirs, barrages, and canals to offer ample quantities of water for the cultivation of those crops (Lambton, 1953). A few of these infrastructures have been time-consuming, laborious, and capital-intensive in constructing, requiring intensive expertise in hydraulic engineering, geodesy, hydrometery, stone masonry, and different development disciplines. Nonetheless, the Sassanids didn’t must construct large-scale water buildings all over the place via a deliberate governmental plan, for example, the place winter-cultivation of barley and wheat was widespread or the place Persian gardens (ParadiseFootnote 79) have been developed. These programs, whereas presumably beneath the oversight of the federal government, have been managed domestically. In a number of circumstances, summer season cultivation was practiced utilizing easy water-lifting gadgets or runoff harvesting, unbiased of enormous dams and weirs. Because of this, efficient water administration was typically achieved with out large-scale buildings. One other state of affairs would possibly come up when a large-scale hydraulic system doesn’t seem being from a top-down scheme or their administration oscillates between native and imperial administrations. It has been identified by Hunt (1988) that the Nahrawan CanalFootnote 80, a significance water transport system in central Iraq, demonstrates a singular instance of a hydrological construction from inside Sassanid territory that isn’t fully the product of a top-down imperial administration. In such circumstances, locals took benefit of their capacities to maintain their water assets consciously. In accordance with Wilkinson et al. (2012), not just for Iran but additionally extra broadly, it might be essential to shift the main focus away from water and energy and in the direction of a deeper understanding of water administration, similar to native administration inside an imperial framework.

It was a attribute of the Sassanid authorities to not train energy over individuals to handle water assets in a top-down method. The intense stage of presidency authority over water assets necessitated the institution of an absolute tyranny over nearly all of society. The Sassanids, in flip, developed their water assets in accordance with state/district and native norms for proudly owning, managing, sharing, and preserving water assets. Much like the Parthians and the Achaemenids, water and land possession on this period was within the fingers of each the federal government and the non-public sector. As a non-public proprietor, one can personal each land and water, or personal water in a collective possession association with out proudly owning land (Daryaee, 2014). Rich landowners typically divided their lands into smaller parcels and leased them to sharecroppers at a set fee for a sure time period. Basically, the rental fee was estimated based mostly on the land worth and the water availability. Because of this, among the prices related to the development and upkeep of hydraulic infrastructure have been coated, and sharecroppers’ agricultural taxes allowed landowners to put money into native water infrastructure, even in locations with much less favorable situations for agriculture.

On the authorities stage, water brokersFootnote 81 and directorsFootnote 82 have been answerable for assessing water assets, getting ready reviews, calculating and gathering taxes, and addressing water-sharing challenges, significantly throughout water scarcity intervals. It was widespread for managers to work together instantly with sharecroppers and professionals working to [i] handle village-related affairsFootnote 83, [ii] shield and guard water infrastructuresFootnote 84, and [iii] divide waterFootnote 85. Nonetheless, water administration was a vital job, requiring good training, expertise, justice, and morality. The principle burden of the day by day administration of water involving creating and sustaining water canals, irrigation, and plenty of different obligatory actions, was on the shoulders of peasantsFootnote 86 and agricultural laborers, who constituted the majority of the inhabitants. Because the Sasanian financial system relied on farming, the peasants, irrigators, and water entitlement holders have been extra revered than within the Parthian Period. The Zoroastrian clergymen additionally emphasised the significance of peasants. They inspired landowners to dig qanats, convert barren lands into fertile farmlands, and plant fruit bushes (Daryaee and Omidsalar, 2004). You will need to notice that within the ideological system of the Zoroastrian faith, one of many three “Holy FiresFootnote 87” referred to as “Adur Burzen-Mihr”Footnote 88 was related to the farmer classFootnote 89. Nonetheless, after creating different religions like Christianity, ManichaeismFootnote 90, and MazdakismFootnote 91, the diploma of connection and participation in all water-related actions decreased.

Weir-Bridge development within the Sassanid Period

The Sassanids tried to be an city dynasty by constructing and rebuilding many cities. They constructed many weir-bridgesFootnote 92 in Persian and Roman kinds (Desk 2). The doctrine of urbanization allowed them to acclimatize with Roman know-how. In the meantime, commerce performed a major financial and socio-cultural position in thriving the cities. Presently, ShushtarFootnote 93 and DezfulFootnote 94, due to their geographical state of affairs, mighty rivers, and agricultural lands, had a singular likelihood for growthFootnote 95.

See Also

Desk 2 Checklist of dams (weirs) constructed by the Sassanids.

The primary multipurpose weir-bridge, referred to as “Band-e Kaiser”Footnote 96, was constructed by the Sassanids within the north-west a part of Shushtar over the Shoteit River, the principle department of the Karun River. This weir was used as a bridge for passing, regulating the water stage, and diverting water to the Dariyon River throughout water stage rises within the Karun (Encyclopedia Iranica, 2020). It had 43 little arches, 44 central arches, 543 m lengthy, 10–15 m huge, and eight m excessive, constructed with sandstone blocks, river stones (pebbles), mortar, and steel clamps. The fundamental construction and materials used on this bridge present the bridge was designed and constructed with Roman troopers’ labors, captured after Valerian’s defeat on the Battle of Edessa in 260 AD (Saeidian, 2013). Band-e Mizan is one other well-kept Sassanid weir that diverts the Karun River water to its branches (i.e., Gargar and Shoteit) with a proportion of two to 4, respectively. The weir consists of 9 sluices (mouths) of various sizesFootnote 97, made from lower sandstones with mortar branches. Some information present each the Mizan and Kaiser weirs have been renovated by the SafavidsFootnote 98 (1501–1736) and QajarsFootnote 99 (1873–1909).

Watermill development within the Sassanid Period

WatermillsFootnote 100 are among the many earliest hydro-technological buildings utilized by the Iranians to facilitate grinding grains. Earlier grinding was completed primarily by animal energyFootnote 101; windmills weren’t typicalFootnote 102. Earlier than the arrival of watermills, peasants have been compelled to attend over longtime to grind their grainsFootnote 103. Within the presence of watermills as machine-driven, cost-reducing, income-generating, time-saving, and high-capacity know-how, villagers might enhance the dimensions of their lands, and millers have been able to mass grinding.

The early unfold of watermills in Iran dates again to the Sassanids, particularly on the time of King Shapur IFootnote 104, Shapur IIFootnote 105, Kavad IFootnote 106, and Khosrow IFootnote 107 (Saliba, 1995; Djamali et al., 2017). On this period, farming and agriculture have been the basements of the financial system. Watermills have been one of the crucial vital elements of an intricate community between native water suppliers, grain producers, processors, and shoppers on this context. These fulfilled many roles in financial growth, urbanization, and rural growth. The Sasanian’s data and experiences in hydraulic construction design made it conceivable to generate energy utilizing water flows.

For the reason that Sassanid Empire, “Greek Mill” and “Roman Mill” have been used to satisfy the wants. The so-called “Roman Mill” incorporates a vertical wheel rotating a few horizontal shaft. In contrast to the Roman kind, a “Greek Mill” is powered by a flat wheel, turning round a vertical axle or shaft with out establishing gears. This kind is usually powered by small water volumes directed at excessive velocity (Weaver and Pinder, 1963). An inclined aqueduct diverts a proportion of water from a river towards the watermill in these mills. From a peak of 1 to twenty m, the water drops right into a reverse cone-shaped water tower to offer a stress head for driving the wheel. On the backside of the water tower, a convergent nozzle with various cross-sectional areas ejects the water to the mill wheel. The circulation quantity and velocity rely upon the water towerFootnote 108 and nozzle diametersFootnote 109. The power of speeding water retains the wheel and runner stone turning round. The bedstone is fastened and extra immune to affect forces than the runner stoneFootnote 110. There’s a central gapFootnote 111 within the turning stone by which the grains fall into the hole between millstones. The grind fineness (or coarseness) is set with the hole dimension and turning pace. The turning stone pace is determined by many components, similar to the dimensions of millstonesFootnote 112, wheel design, and water discharge (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5: Construction of a typical horizontal watermill in Iran.
figure 5

The water from the leat is dropped right into a vertical chimney referred to as the “Drop Tower.” Water rushes down right into a nozzle close to the underside of the Drop Tower; this constricts the jet directed to the water wheel. The water energy from a horizontally set water-wheel is transferred to the millstone via a vertical shaft. A Water nozzle and horizontal wheel. B The place of the decrease (fastened) and higher (operating) millstones, the feeder gap (eye), and grain hooper. C The construction of a conglomerate retaining wall on the outer facade of the millhouse rooms. Drawn by Microsoft paint, Home windows 8, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows.

Greek mills have been so welcomed by the Iranians (Saeidian, 2012). Greek mills are easy, low-cost, and straightforward to assemble, function, preserve, and restore. In addition to, these mills are safer than Roman ones towards seasonal fluctuations in river discharge and flash flood damages. Nonetheless, such mills have the drawback of low effectivity, solely 15 to 40%Footnote 113. Therefore, these machines grind small quantities of grains (Pourjafar et al., 2010).

Archeologically, probably the most strong proof for the Sassanid’s funding in constructing mills is accessible within the “Shushtar Historic Hydraulic SystemFootnote 114” (Fig. 6). Positioned on the east facet of Shushtar, there’s a cluster of 40 watermills alongside the Gargar RiverFootnote 115 (Harverson, 1993). These buildings consist of 1 or two domed rooms and slim corridors made from lower sandstone and baked brick. The mills are fed by three tunnels referred to as Boleyti, Dahan-e Shahr, and Se-Kureh. Though giant elements of the mills have been misplaced over time, the stays have been renovated just lately as “Shushtar Cultural Heritage” to draw vacationers.

Fig. 6: Historic hydraulic buildings of the Karun River in Shushtar districts, Khuzestan Province (Adopted from UNESCO MAP of Shushtar beneath CC-BY-SA license).
figure 6

As proven on this image, on the north of Shushtar, the Karun River is split into the japanese Gargar River and the western Shoteit branches. These branches be part of collectively within the Band-e Gheer Weir once more. The hand-dug Dariyon Channel, with a size of two.5 km, was excavated downstream of the Mizan Weir to irrigate the land between the Gargar and Shoteit rivers.” The Dariyon River can also be divided into two branches within the Band-e-Khak. The principle department goes in the direction of the south; it joins the Shoteit River after 33 km within the Arab Hassan Weir. One other department flows towards the Gargar River. Gargar, with a size of 80 km to 100 km and a width of 20 m to 90 m, is probably the most vital human-made watercourse in Iran, and its authentic development dates again to the Early Sasanian interval (Woodbridge et al., 2016). Different names of this river are “Do-Dangeh” and “Mashreghan.” The first perform of the Gargar was to irrigate agricultural fields within the south of Shushtar and provide water for residential areas. Adopted from UNESCO MAP of Shushtar beneath CC-BY-SA license. Geo-referenced utilizing ArcGIS model 10.2 for desktop, https://www.arcgis.com/index.html.

Greek watermills, similar to these constructed in Khuzestan, Ilam, Fars, and Khorasan, have been constructed under weirs. A typical model was pair watermills through which two units of watermills, with one headrace, have been utilized in two neighboring rooms separated by a wall. This mill was designed for grinding two sorts of grains concurrently. In fast-flowing everlasting rivers, a string of water-tower mills, fed by a small canal system, was often constructed at irregular intervals ranging between 50 m to 1500 m (Weaver and Pinder, 1963; Harverson, 1993). The remnants of a string of twenty-two pre-Islamic water-towers, masking a complete distance of 6.5 km, are traceable within the Deh-Luran PlainFootnote 116 (Weaver and Pinder, 1963). Different examples may be seen in JiroftFootnote 117 (50 mills), NishaburFootnote 118 (40 mills), and Hamadan (20 mills) (UNESCO, 2008).

In some arid areas of Iran, the place giant everlasting rivers are missing, one or a number of water-tower mills obtain waterpower from a qanat system. Such hybrid programs have been constructed into qanats with ample slope and circulation velocity close to the decrease finish of their tunnel. The sudden drop of water from the water tower supplies a major driving power for water to move. As qanat watermills want the elevation distinction to show the wheel, the watermill needs to be constructed beneath the qanat’s tunnel to allow full water power. A few of these mills are seen in MeybodFootnote 119 (Saeidian, 2013), Deh-Luran (Weaver and Pinder, 1963), ArdestanFootnote 120 (Harverson, 1993), SarvestanFootnote 121 (UNESCO, 2008), KashanFootnote 122 (UNFAO, 2014), TaftFootnote 123 (Papoli Yazdi and Labbaf Khaneiki, 2004), AradakanFootnote 124, and KermanFootnote 125 (Papoli Yazdi and Labbaf Khaneiki, 2000).

Qanat-based watermills may be considered an acceptable know-how for sustainable growth. They’ve strengthened agricultural livelihoods and meals safety in central and japanese Iran, the place watermilling capability is insufficient to satisfy wants. This know-how has given native farmers extra management over the time, value, and closing product pricing. Along with grinding, the qanat mills had different features similar to [i] growing water velocity of transferring in the direction of agricultural lands, [ii] reducing water temperature and evaporation fee, and [iii] masking the qanat’s operation and upkeep pricesFootnote 126.

In Iran, Roman watermills have been mainly constructed alongside giant rivers, similar to “Zayandeh-rudFootnote 127” and Karun. Often, a posh of Roman watermills was constructed in several sections of a river hall. Midstream watermills have been operated within the dry season and riverside in each moist and dry seasons. Roman watermills have been typically set into two main ranges; a basement for housing the drive system (wheel-house) and a high ground for millstones (grinding room). The grinding room roof was often domed, permitting the air to flow into and lightweight to transmit via the dome openings. The packs of grains have been saved in an attic, linked to a hopper to pour grains into the millstones. One of many oldest stream millsFootnote 128, courting again to the Sassanid Empire, was constructed in Dezful MetropolisFootnote 129, on the downstream facet of the “Sassanid BridgeFootnote 130” alongside the Dez River (Eghtedari, 1974; Saeidian, 2012).

The Sassanids might introduce a cheap, eco-friendly, and sustainable know-how to the Iranians via watermills. Flour made by a watermill was tasty and contemporary; it was stored for years with out spoiling. It was very prevalent for a mill to getting used for hundreds of years. If one mill was severely broken, one other mill can be constructed on the location. Till the center of the 20 th century, watermills have been a significant a part of the nation’s socioeconomic growth. Earlier than World Warfare II, Iran was a particular grain exporter, however in 1941 it confronted a extreme famine. Extra disadvantaged individuals needed to resolve their financial issues by eliminating inflation and meals provide, particularly flour and bread. Possibly from this level, the thought of intensive reforms crossed the Second Pahlavi’s thoughts. After the “White Revolution,” he quickly modified the financial system, way of life, and urbanization. Conventional watermills failed to ensure an ample provide of flour and disappeared as a result of technological development. In Iran, a small variety of watermills are nonetheless producing flour. Two well-known ones are the Kakhak Watermill in Khorasan Razavi Province and Askzar Watermill in Yazd Province. The variety of working watermills in Iran is minimal in comparison with Afghanistan, India, and Nepal. Provided that outdated watermills are nonetheless seen in lots of cities (Desk 3), these programs can generate inexperienced vitality after rebuilding and reviving.

Desk 3 An inventory exhibiting among the current watermill heritage websites in Iran.

Clearly, the Sassanid’s achievements in creating, managing, and defending water assets, in addition to gathering water taxes and tributes from all of their territories, have been considerably larger than these of the Achaemenids. The Sassanids have been famous to be the longest-lasting Persian Empire (427 years), with an excellent framework for managing water, each imperially and domestically. Their advances in water-related fields, nevertheless, didn’t happen in a vacuum; they have been actually influenced by different areas of science, know-how, engineering, tradition, and authorities administration, developed by their predecessors or different civilizations. In the identical approach, the Sassanids offered alternatives for future generations. As mentioned by Boucharlat in 2012, whatever the scale of the programs and whether or not these programs have been established beneath the supervision of the imperial authorities or not, the position of those programs in creating water useful resource sustainability in Iran and different nations is essential.

Water within the Islamic Period

Though the Sasanian Period was a golden age for the Iranians when it comes to agricultural exercise, city growth, and financial growth, it was adopted by a difficult transitional interval, significantly in southwestern and western IranFootnote 131, the central a part of “the Sassanid Empire’s agricultural spine”. The exhaustion of the Iranian military via Sassanid-Byzantine wars (602–628 AD), speedy turnover of rulers, the rising energy of provincial landholders, the outbreak of plague (627–628 AD), destruction of business, infrastructure, and civilian property, together with unprecedented public criticism of financial and social imbalances, have been the first components that led to the Sassanid Empire’s fall and the following Islamic conquest of Iran (Maresca, 2019). The sharp decline in agricultural manufacturing led to a discount within the nation’s tax income. As well as, decreased consideration to the nation’s water infrastructure brought about extreme floods. In complete, the meals and financial safety of the nation was severely endangered. The Sassanids declined like a dwelling creature that decays on the finish of its life.

Instantly after the arrival of Islam, Iran had a messy and disorganized setting. Muslims tried to vary the nation’s non secular, political, institutional, and social construction. The implementation of Islamic customsFootnote 132 and legal guidelinesFootnote 133Footnote 134 was a major step towards the Islamization of society. Within the meantime, water may very well be a necessary hyperlink between customized, faith, regulation, and group, however there have been obstacles within the Muslims’ path. Within the sharia sources, there have been just some ideas, similar to justice, equity, and stability, for the advantage of all societies (Naff, 2009). Though the QuranFootnote 135 has 63 references to water (Farshad and Zinck, 1998), it doesn’t assert any clear obligation or rule on water provide and consumption (Absar, 2013). The dearth or insufficiency of basic rights and obligations concerning entry to water, sanitation, sharing, and promoting water was the principle barrier to the Islamization of water-related guidelines. It needs to be famous, nevertheless, that neither the conquest of Iran by the Muslims nor the method of Islamization of the Iranian individuals occurred all of a sudden; each side might regulate to the brand new circumstances.

There have been some contradictions between Islamic guidelines and conventional customs in some circumstances. Within the Islamic view, water, land, and crops are indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent properties. In accordance with the precepts of sharia, water can’t be possessed by anybody; it’s a free substance, and past non-public possession, no value must be decided to make use of it, and it can’t be bought. Riparian water rights for allocating water have generally been restricted to ample quantities for a specific crop space (Naff, 2009). Such a situation was in stark distinction to the Sassanid system. The Sassanid Empire had a inflexible social stratification through which social courses differed in dignity, rank, proper, possession, and management of sources, wealth, and social actions (Aarab, 2016). On this system, nobles and clergymen lived in an expensive kind, incomparable to a farmer’s life. This kind was completely completely different from Islam, which emphasised justice, equality, and equity. To determine an Islamic system, nice flexibility was wanted to achieve a compromise with Iranians. On the time, Muslim jurists needed to ignore their legal guidelines or make slight modifications in former Iranian legal guidelines (Wilkinson, 1990).

Though agriculture remained the bottom of the financial system and society within the Early Islamic interval, agricultural and water infrastructure funding declined till the start of the development interval. The differentiation between Muslims and non-MuslimsFootnote 136, the destruction and abandonment of water infrastructure throughout warsFootnote 137, the disintegration of the executive buildings, and modifications in guidelines and rules have been the principle causes for the weakening of agriculture within the age of transition (Soroush, 2014; Daniel, 2019). Nonetheless, instantly after strengthening Islam’s foundations in Iran, the Muslim rulers targeted on creating the agricultural sector to stabilize the financial system. On this interval, some older buildings have been being renovated, water infrastructures have been being up to date, and rural settlements have been being expanded (Neely, 1974; Watson, 1983). Comparable expansions have been noticed within the United Arab Emirates (al-Tikriti, 2011), Jordan (Mango, 2010), Iraq, and Syria (Rousset, 2010). Among the qanats within the Arabian Plate appear to dig for the settlement of the international Persian inhabitants following the Muslim conquest of Persia (Morony, 2002; Ulrich, 2011), the place the survival of latest Muslims with out qanat programs will need to have been powerful. It was widespread for qanats to be linked to swimming poolsFootnote 138 of various dimensions and shapes, which served as storage services for laundry ritualsFootnote 139 previous to prayer (Genequand, 2012). In accordance with al-Tikriti (2011), these qanats have been usually dug or revived with deep mother-wells to entry the decreasing groundwater desk. In 2018, Avni expressed that additional analysis is important to find out whether or not groundwater drawdowns are as a result of aquifer over-drafts from the Sassanid period or local weather change. The construction of the qanats, nevertheless, led Avni (2018) to counsel that the Late Sassanid interval and Early Islamic intervals may be examples of the second stage of qanat evolution, as proposed by Boucharlat in 2017. Nonetheless, the robust chance is that quite a few settlements have been based through the Islamic interval as a result of disappearance of earlier communities following the Muslim conquest.

Water within the Islamic Golden Age

In an extended interval between the eighth to the tip of the twelfth centuryFootnote 140, the Muslim world underwent a golden age of development in science, agriculture, financial system, artwork, structure, and literature (Petersen, 1996). Throughout the eighth century, paper changed parchment as the first writing materials for administrative makes use of. The arrival of paper made it simpler for Islamic students to put in writing, share, and unfold manuscripts (Petersen, 1996). The opening of the Home of Knowledge in Baghdad coincided with a development in scientific collaboration between Muslims and Greek, Roman, Chinese language, and Hindu studentsFootnote 141. At the moment, water-related sciences have been among the many most engaging fields for Iranian scientists. Quite a few documentary and archeological information present the efforts of elites within the Samanid Empire (819–999 AD), Buyid Dynasty (934–1062 AD), Ghaznavid Empire (962–1186 AD), and Seljuk Empire (1016–1153 AD) to resolve water-related issues (Savory, 2007; Bastanirad, 2012). The oldest textbook on hydrology and hydrogeology is a e book entitled “The Extraction of Hidden Waters,” written by the Iranian mathematician and engineer “Abubakr Mohammad Karaji” (935–1029 AD), as late as 1000 years in the pastFootnote 142 (Ataie-Ashtiani and Simmons, 2020). On this e book, the writer addresses differing kinds and origins of water, exploring groundwater in drylands, approximating the groundwater depth, digging wells, developing qanats, estimating the safety space round qanats, water-related legal guidelines, subject investigations, and instrumental improvements.

In 1014 AD, AvicennaFootnote 143, the good Iranian scientist, in his e book titled “The Canon of Medication”Footnote 144, additional offered some explanations concerning the high quality of water and the distribution of ailments by water and soil. Almost on the identical time, one other Iranian scientist named “Abu Raihan Muhammad al-Biruni” (973–1048 AD), in his books entitled “The Remaining Indicators of Previous CenturiesFootnote 145; “Alberuni’s IndiaFootnote 146”; “A Vital Research of What India Says, Whether or not Accepted by Purpose or Refused”; and the “Mas’udi Regulation,” offered some basic explanations on varied our bodies of water and the artesian water (Yousif, 2000).

New water infrastructures have been constructed through the interval, and outdated ones have been reconstructed. Among the many small dams and bands that have been made on this interval, the Buyid dams of “Qur’an Gate,”Footnote 147 “Band-e Air,” “the Ghaznavid dams of “Feiz Abad” and “Tous”Footnote 148, and the Ilkhanate dam of “Kebar”Footnote 149 may be talked about (Tanchev, 2014; Norouz and Noorzad, 2015). In addition to, qanat’s know-how expanded to greater than 34 nations beneath completely different names (Behnia, 2000; Habashiani, 2011) (Desk 4). Regardless of all efforts made throughout this era, the dearth of creativity and funding in selling water-related infrastructure and applied sciences, wars and territorial conflicts, prioritizing financial and political issues over social advantages, and poor water governance have resulted in water insecurity over centuries.

Desk 4 The historic unfold of qanat beneath completely different names (in parentheses).

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