Lying within the range of 600 to 200 mm annual precipitation, the core region of Assyria (the 'heartland') extends from the piedmont zone of the Zagros to the capital of Ashur. Scholars have maintained over decennia that water has never been of great economic significance for Assyria and that the Assyrians were unexperienced in hydraulic technology and water management. The Assyrian kings, foremost king Sennacherib (704-681 BC), were assumed to have constructed the water works of Nimrud and Nineveh for their royal gardens, pleasure, and prestige only. Assyrian water management outside the core region was unknown. The discovery of a supra-regional water guidance system in NE Syria in the 1980s, a comprehensive reevaluation of the Assyrian cuneiform sources in 2000, the application of remote sensing in landscape archaeology, and recent field work in the Kurdistan region of Iraq have generated a new assessment of Assyrian water skills and management. They demonstrate that the Assyrians had a long tradition of water engineering. Applying innovative technology like aqueducts, they invested in a large number of Grand Projects during the Middle and Neo-Assyrian Empires (c. 1350-612 BC), improving agricultural output, supply of drinking water for men and animals alike, growth of population, and transportation of goods and people. Presenting the results of ongoing projects, the authors of this volume offer insights into this exciting multi-disciplinary research field.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction Hartmut KUHNE Water for Assyria - Introduction Water and Settlement in Prehistory Marco IAMONI A vital resource in prehistory: Water and settlement during the Pottery Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.A preliminary analysis of the Eastern Upper Tigris basin area Cuneiform Sources Maria Grazia MASETTI-ROUAULT The King and the Canal. Development of a Literary Image in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions John MACGINNIS Construction and operation of canals in Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian sources Water Management in the Heartland of Assyria Jason UR Water for Arbail and Nimrud Daniele MORANDI BONACOSSI Water for Nineveh. The Nineveh Irrigation System in the regional context of the 'Assyrian Triangle': A first Geoarchaeological Assessment Water Management in the Eastern Provinces Hartmut KUHNE Politics and Water Management at the Lower Habur (Syria) in the Middle Assyrian Period and beyond a New Appraisal