Sennacherib and Darius: Aqueducts and Qanats

Behistun Inscription, describing conquests of Darius the Great in Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages. These reliefs and texts are engraved in a cliff on Mount Behistun (present Kermanshah Province, Iran). Public Domain courtesy of Hara1603 and Wikipedia.
Behistun Inscription, describing conquests of Darius the Great in Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian languages. These reliefs and texts are engraved in a cliff on Mount Behistun (present Kermanshah Province, Iran). Public Domain courtesy of Hara1603 and Wikipedia.

Archaeologist K. Kris Hirst has recently published an article on Sennacherib’s aqueduct system: Assyrian
The Aqueduct at Jerwan – Assyrian Water Control in Ancient Iraq
. She writes:

[It was] part of an enormous system of canals which carried water from the foothills of the Zagros mountains to Nineveh, a distance of some 95 kilometers (~59 miles). The Jerwan Aqueduct, and its massive water control system, was engineered under the the direction of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, who ruled 704-681 BC.

Another ancient ruler of a nearby empire, King Darius the Great, whom I’ve written about here as well as on About.com, was also famed for his system of water delivery. Darius ruled about a century and a half later. His empire covered a territory extending from Sind to Sardis (or from the Indus to Asia Minor). He used the qanat, which Hirst describes in her article Controlling Water in Arid Lands: Qanats, Karezes, Foggaras, and Aflaj as

Qanats are ancient water control systems made up of a combination of shaft wells and horizontal tunnels built to tap into subsurface water stores called aquifers. Qanats are one of several water control technologies developed in the ancient past to compensate when surface water supplies are sporadic or not drinkable. Qanat technology is at least 3,000 years old, and they are still found operating today in areas of the Mediterranean, the Near and Middle East, North Africa, and central Asia.

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