GEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND, CLIMATE,
The development of water technology by ancient man was a long complex process of observation, changing needs and trial and error solutions, with the occasional innovation. Water technology at a particular time and place was not developed in isolation from agriculture, construction and other phases of life. We may classify these activities today into various categories, but in the past it is likely that the digging of a well or channel was simply part of survival, using skills and experience available in the group. Since water is a basic human need and these needs grew, so the potential requirement for heavy labor provided a strong incentive for invention. Most of us forget the hard work required by our bodies to lift a few buckets of water one or two meters from a well, or to dig a small 50 m long ditch to irrigate a garden. At an even more fundamental level, most of us would not be able to find drinking water in large parts of Europe if there were not so many developed sources available. Garbrecht (1987b) presents a fascinating overview of the engineering aspects of the best known early civilizations as well as a brief summary of ancient Rome's water system.
Even today most of the more arid regions are not inhabited, in spite of sophisticated technology which enables water to be provided almost anywhere. Water technology operates against a backdrop of geology, soils and climate, which our ancestors were certainly aware of but were probably too busy to classify or even name.
The modern archeologist, however, has a vast and ever increasing store of knowledge to draw upon, a store which is so vast that some researchers in the various fields have used the expression “quarrying” the literature. There is now no locality in the world without some kind of topographic, geologic, and soil map. Of course the precision of these maps depends on their scale and on the way that the data was obtained and presented. Furthermore, the water resources of most of the region have been assessed and are available as maps and reports. Discharges of many rivers have been measured over