The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation; the corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century. Arabs, Persians and Azeris constitute the largest ethnic groups in the region by population. Arabs constitute the largest ethnic group in the region by a clear margin. Indigenous minorities of the Middle East include Jews, Assyrians, Copts, Lurs, Samaritans, Shabaks and Zazas. European ethnic groups that form a diaspora in the region include Albanians, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Franco-Levantines, Italo-Levantines. Among other migrant populations are Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Pashtuns and sub-Saharan Africans; the history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, with the importance of the region being recognized for millennia. Several major religions have their origins in the Middle East, including Judaism and Islam.
The Middle East has a hot, arid climate, with several major rivers providing irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates watersheds of Mesopotamia, most of what is known as the Fertile Crescent. Most of the countries that border the Persian Gulf have vast reserves of crude oil, with monarchs of the Arabian Peninsula in particular benefiting economically from petroleum exports; the term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office. However, it became more known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term in 1902 to "designate the area between Arabia and India". During this time the British and Russian Empires were vying for influence in Central Asia, a rivalry which would become known as The Great Game. Mahan realized not only the strategic importance of the region, but of its center, the Persian Gulf, he labeled the area surrounding the Persian Gulf as the Middle East, said that after Egypt's Suez Canal, it was the most important passage for Britain to control in order to keep the Russians from advancing towards British India.
Mahan first used the term in his article "The Persian Gulf and International Relations", published in September 1902 in the National Review, a British journal. The Middle East, if I may adopt a term which I have not seen, will some day need its Malta, as well as its Gibraltar. Naval force has the quality of mobility; the British Navy should have the facility to concentrate in force if occasion arise, about Aden and the Persian Gulf. Mahan's article was reprinted in The Times and followed in October by a 20-article series entitled "The Middle Eastern Question," written by Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol. During this series, Sir Ignatius expanded the definition of Middle East to include "those regions of Asia which extend to the borders of India or command the approaches to India." After the series ended in 1903, The Times removed quotation marks from subsequent uses of the term. Until World War II, it was customary to refer to areas centered around Turkey and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean as the "Near East", while the "Far East" centered on China, the Middle East meant the area from Mesopotamia to Burma, namely the area between the Near East and the Far East.
In the late 1930s, the British established the Middle East Command, based in Cairo, for its military forces in the region. After that time, the term "Middle East" gained broader usage in Europe and the United States, with the Middle East Institute founded in Washington, D. C. in 1946, among other usage. The description Middle has led to some confusion over changing definitions. Before the First World War, "Near East" was used in English to refer to the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire, while "Middle East" referred to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Turkestan. In contrast, "Far East" referred to the countries of East Asia With the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, "Near East" fell out of common use in English, while "Middle East" came to be applied to the re-emerging countries of the Islamic world. However, the usage "Near East" was retained by a variety of academic disciplines, including archaeology and ancient history, where it describes an area identical to the term Middle East, not used by these disciplines.
The first official use of the term "Middle East" by the United States government was in the 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia." In 1958, the State Department explained that the terms "Near East" and "Middle East" were interchangeable, defined the region as including only Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The Associated Press Styleboo
Outline of prehistoric technology
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to prehistoric technology. Prehistoric technology – technology that predates recorded history. History is the study of the past using written records. Anything prior to the first written accounts of history is prehistoric, including earlier technologies. About 2.5 million years before writing was developed, technology began with the earliest hominids who used stone tools, which they may have used to start fires, cut food, bury their dead. Prehistoric technology can be described as: Prehistoric – "before we had written records," from the Latin word for "before," præ. Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history, that is, before the invention of writing systems. Technology – making, modification and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function.
Three-age system – in archaeology and physical anthropology, the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, each named after the main material used in its respective tool-making technologies: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Beginning of prehistoric technology – the earliest technology began before recorded history, that is, at the beginning of the Stone Age. Latest prehistoric technology – the level of technology reached before true writing was introduced differed by region... Latest prehistoric technology in the Near East – cultures in the Near East achieved the development of writing first, during their Bronze Age. Latest prehistoric technology in the rest of the Old World: Europe and China reached Iron Age technological development before the introduction of writing there. Stone Age – broad prehistoric period, lasting 2.5 million years, during which stone was used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.
The period ended between 6000 and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Paleolithic – prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered, covers 99% of human technological prehistory. Lower Paleolithic – earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, it spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan and Acheulean lithic technology. Stone tool use – early human use of stone tool technology, such as the hand axe, was similar to that of primates, found to be limited to the intelligence levels of modern children aged 3 to 5 years. Ancestors of homo sapiens used stone tools as follows: Homo habilis – first "homo" species, it lived from 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago in Africa and created stone tools called Oldowan tools. Homo ergaster – in eastern and southern Africa about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago, it refined Oldowan tools and developed the first Acheulean bifacial axes.
Homo erectus – lived about 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago in West Asia and Africa and is thought to be the first hominid to hunt in coordinated groups, use complex tools, care for infirm or weaker companions. Homo antecessor – earliest hominid in Northern Europe, it used stone tools. Homo heidelbergensis – lived between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago and used stone tool technology similar to the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus. Control of fire by early humans – European and Asian sites dating back 1.5 million years ago seem to indicate controlled use of fire by H. erectus. A northern Israel site from about 690,000 to 790,000 years ago suggests controlled use of fire in a hearth from pre-existing natural fires or embers. Burial – the act of placing a deceased person into the ground. Homo heidelbergensis – may have been the first species to bury their dead about 500,000 years ago. Middle Paleolithic period – in Europe and the Near East during which the Neanderthals lived, their technology is the Mousterian.
The earliest evidence of settlement in Australia dates to around 55,000 years ago when modern humans crossed from Asia by island-hopping. The Bhimbetka rock shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India, some of which are 30,000 years old. Homo neanderthalensis Stone tools – homo neanderthalensis used Mousterian stone tools that date back to around 300,000 years ago and include smaller, knife-like and scraper tools. Burials – homo neanderthalensis buried their dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones, although the reasons and significance of the burials are disputed. Homo sapiens – the only living species in the genus Homo originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Greater mental capability and ability to walk erect provided freed hands for manipulating objects, which allowed for far greater use of tools. Art of the Middle Paleolithic Burial – intentional burial with grave goods, may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice since it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life."
The earliest undisputed human burial so far dates back 130,000 years. Human skeletal remains stained with red ochre were discovered in the Skhul cave at Qafzeh, Israel with a variety of grave goods. Upper Paleolithic Revolution – theoretical occurrence betw
A granary is a storehouse or room in a barn for threshed grain or animal feed. Ancient or primitive granaries are most made out of pottery. Granaries are built above the ground to keep the stored food away from mice and other animals. From ancient times grain has been stored in bulk; the oldest granaries yet found date back to 9500 BC and are located in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A settlements in the Jordan Valley. The first were located in places between other buildings; however beginning around 8500 BC, they were moved inside houses, by 7500 BC storage occurred in special rooms. The first granaries measured 3 x 3 m on the outside and had suspended floors that protected the grain from rodents and insects and provided air circulation; these granaries are followed by those in Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley from 6000 BC. The ancient Egyptians made a practice of preserving grain in years of plenty against years of scarcity; the climate of Egypt being dry, grain could be stored in pits for a long time without discernible loss of quality.
A silo was a pit for storing grain. It is distinct from a granary, an above-ground structure. Simple storage granaries raised up on four or more posts appeared in the Yangshao culture in China and after the onset of intensive agriculture in the Korean peninsula during the Mumun pottery period as well as in the Japanese archipelago during the Final Jōmon/Early Yayoi periods. In the archaeological vernacular of Northeast Asia, these features are lumped with those that may have functioned as residences and together are called'raised floor buildings'. In vernacular architecture of Indonesian archipelago granaries are made of wood and bamboo materials and most of them are built raised up on four or more posts to avoid rodents and insects. Examples of Indonesian granary is Sundanese Minang rangkiang. In Great Britain small granaries were built on mushroom-shaped stumps called staddle stones, they were built of timber frame construction and had slate roofs. Larger ones were similar to linhays, but with the upper floor enclosed.
Access to the first floor was via stone staircase on the outside wall. Towards the close of the 19th century, warehouses specially intended for holding grain began to multiply in Great Britain. There are climatic difficulties in the way of storing grain in Great Britain on a large scale, but these difficulties have been overcome. Modern grain farming operations use manufactured steel granaries to store grain on-site until it can be trucked to major storage facilities in anticipation of shipping; the large mechanized facilities seen in Russia and North America are known as grain elevators. Grain must be kept away from moisture for as long as possible to preserve it in good condition and prevent mold growth. Newly harvested grain brought into a granary tends to contain excess moisture, which encourages mold growth leading to fermentation and heating, both of which are undesirable and affect quality. Fermentation spoils grain and may cause chemical changes that create poisonous mycotoxins. One traditional remedy is to spread the grain in thin layers on a floor, where it is turned to aerate it thoroughly.
Once the grain is sufficiently dry it can be transferred to a granary for storage. A modern variation on this, is to use a grain auger to move grain stored in one granary to another. In modern silos, grain is force-aerated in situ or circulated through external grain drying equipment. Hórreo Raccard Storage silo Corn crib Groote Schuur, the stately South African home was a granary. Rice barn Treppenspeicher Ghorfa Parish granary
The Holocene is the current geological epoch. It began 11,650 cal years before present, after the last glacial period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat; the Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene together form the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1, it is considered by some to be an interglacial period within the Pleistocene Epoch. The Holocene has seen the growth and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all its written history, development of major civilizations, overall significant transition toward urban living in the present. Human impacts on modern-era Earth and its ecosystems may be considered of global significance for future evolution of living species, including synchronous lithospheric evidence, or more hydrospheric and atmospheric evidence of human impacts. In July 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences split the Holocene epoch into three distinct subsections, Greenlandian and Meghalayan, as proposed by International Commission on Stratigraphy.
The boundary stratotype of Meghalayan is a speleothem in Mawmluh cave in India, the global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan in Canada. The name Holocene comes from the Ancient Greek words ὅλος and καινός, meaning "entirely recent", it is accepted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy that the Holocene started 11,650 cal years BP. The Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy quotes Gibbard and van Kolfschoten in Gradstein Ogg and Smith in stating the term'Recent' as an alternative to Holocene is invalid and should not be used and observe that the term Flandrian, derived from marine transgression sediments on the Flanders coast of Belgium has been used as a synonym for Holocene by authors who consider the last 10,000 years should have the same stage-status as previous interglacial events and thus be included in the Pleistocene; the International Commission on Stratigraphy, considers the Holocene an epoch following the Pleistocene and the last glacial period. Local names for the last glacial period include the Wisconsinan in North America, the Weichselian in Europe, the Devensian in Britain, the Llanquihue in Chile and the Otiran in New Zealand.
The Holocene can be subdivided into five time intervals, or chronozones, based on climatic fluctuations: Preboreal, Atlantic and Subatlantic. Note: "ka" means "kilo-annum" Before Present, i.e. 1,000 years before 1950 The Blytt–Sernander classification of climatic periods defined by plant remains in peat mosses, is being explored. Geologists working in different regions are studying sea levels, peat bogs and ice core samples by a variety of methods, with a view toward further verifying and refining the Blytt–Sernander sequence, they find a general correspondence across Eurasia and North America, though the method was once thought to be of no interest. The scheme was defined for Northern Europe, but the climate changes were claimed to occur more widely; the periods of the scheme include a few of the final pre-Holocene oscillations of the last glacial period and classify climates of more recent prehistory. Paleontologists have not defined any faunal stages for the Holocene. If subdivision is necessary, periods of human technological development, such as the Mesolithic and Bronze Age, are used.
However, the time periods referenced by these terms vary with the emergence of those technologies in different parts of the world. Climatically, the Holocene may be divided evenly into the Neoglacial periods. According to some scholars, a third division, the Anthropocene, has now begun; the International Commission on Stratigraphy Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy’s working group on the'Anthropocene' note this term is used to denote the present time interval in which many geologically significant conditions and processes have been profoundly altered by human activities. The'Anthropocene' is not a formally defined geological unit. Continental motions due to plate tectonics are less than a kilometre over a span of only 10,000 years. However, ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about 35 m in the early part of the Holocene. In addition, many areas above about 40 degrees north latitude had been depressed by the weight of the Pleistocene glaciers and rose as much as 180 m due to post-glacial rebound over the late Pleistocene and Holocene, are still rising today.
The sea level rise and temporary land depression allowed temporary marine incursions into areas that are now far from the sea. Holocene marine fossils are known, from Vermont and Michigan. Other than higher-latitude temporary marine incursions associated with glacial depression, Holocene fossils are found in lakebed and cave deposits. Holocene marine deposits along low-latitude coastlines are rare because the rise in sea levels during the period exceeds any tectonic uplift of non-glacial origin. Post-glacial rebound in the Scandinavia region resulted in the formation of the Baltic Sea; the region continues to rise, still causing weak earthquakes across Northern Europe. The equivalent event in North America was the rebound of Hudson Bay, as it shrank from its larger, immediate post-glacial Tyrrell Sea phase, to near its present boundaries. Climate has been stable over the Holocene. Ice core
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities; the history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, technological developments have increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage.
Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, antibiotic resistance, growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are used, although some are banned in certain countries; the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Food classes include cereals, fruits, meat, milk and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased over the centuries; the word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "field", which in its turn came from Greek αγρός, cultūra, "cultivation" or "growing". While agriculture refers to human activities, certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle cultivate crops. Agriculture is defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops, their related services".
Thus defined, it includes arable farming, animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in practice excluded. The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and gathering. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11 separate centres of origin. Wild grains were eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Rice was domesticated in China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation from 5,700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago. Pig production emerged in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.
In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago. Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Wild stands, harvested started to be planted, came to be domesticated. In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000 BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC. Farmers grew wheat, vegetables such as lentils and onions, fruits including dates and figs.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture relied on its seasonal flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and papyrus. In India, wheat and jujube were domesticated by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats. Cattle and goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000–6,000 BC. Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium BC. Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from 2,500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilisation. In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system and widespread silk farming. Water-powered grain mills were in use followed by irrigation. By the late 2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron mouldboards; these spread westwards across Eurasia. Asian rice was domesticated 8,200–13,500 years ago – depending on the molecular clock estimate, used – on the Pearl River in southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming. Irrigation systems are used for cooling livestock, dust suppression, disposal of sewage, in mining. Irrigation is studied together with drainage, the removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area. Irrigation has been a central feature of agriculture for over 5,000 years and is the product of many cultures, it was the basis for economies and societies across the globe, from Asia to the Southwestern United States. Archaeological investigation has found evidence of irrigation in areas lacking sufficient natural rainfall to support crops for rainfed agriculture.
The earliest known use of the technology dates to the 6th millennium BCE in Khuzistan in the south-west of present-day Iran. Irrigation was used as a means of manipulation of water in the alluvial plains of the Indus valley civilization, the application of it is estimated to have begun around 4500 BC and drastically increased the size and prosperity of their agricultural settlements; the Indus Valley Civilization developed sophisticated irrigation and water-storage systems, including artificial reservoirs at Girnar dated to 3000 BCE, an early canal irrigation system from c. 2600 BCE. Large-scale agriculture was practiced, with an extensive network of canals used for the purpose of irrigation. Farmers in the Mesopotamian plain used irrigation from at least the third millennium BCE, they developed perennial irrigation watering crops throughout the growing season by coaxing water through a matrix of small channels formed in the field. Ancient Egyptians practiced basin irrigation using the flooding of the Nile to inundate land plots, surrounded by dykes.
The flood water remained until the fertile sediment had settled before the engineers returned the surplus to the watercourse. There is evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhet III in the twelfth dynasty using the natural lake of the Faiyum Oasis as a reservoir to store surpluses of water for use during dry seasons; the lake swelled annually from the flooding of the Nile. The Ancient Nubians developed a form of irrigation by using a waterwheel-like device called a sakia. Irrigation began in Nubia some time between the third and second millennia BCE, it depended upon the flood waters that would flow through the Nile River and other rivers in what is now the Sudan. In sub-Saharan Africa irrigation reached the Niger River region cultures and civilizations by the first or second millennium BCE and was based on wet-season flooding and water harvesting. Evidence of terrace irrigation occurs in pre-Columbian America, early Syria and China. In the Zana Valley of the Andes Mountains in Peru, archaeologists have found remains of three irrigation canals radiocarbon-dated from the 4th millennium BCE, the 3rd millennium BCE and the 9th century CE.
These canals provide the earliest record of irrigation in the New World. Traces of a canal dating from the 5th millennium BCE were found under the 4th-millennium canal. Ancient Persia used irrigation as far back as the 6th millennium BCE to grow barley in areas with insufficient natural rainfall; the Qanats, developed in ancient Persia about 800 BCE, are among the oldest known irrigation methods still in use today. They are now found in the Middle East and North Africa; the system comprises a network of vertical wells and sloping tunnels driven into the sides of cliffs and of steep hills to tap groundwater. The noria, a water wheel with clay pots around the rim powered by the flow of the stream, first came into use at about this time among Roman settlers in North Africa. By 150 BCE the pots were fitted with valves to allow smoother filling as they were forced into the water; the irrigation works of ancient Sri Lanka, the earliest dating from about 300 BCE in the reign of King Pandukabhaya, under continuous development for the next thousand years, were one of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world.
In addition to underground canals, the Sinhalese were the first to build artificial reservoirs to store water. These reservoirs and canal systems were used to irrigate paddy fields, which require a lot of water to cultivate. Most of these irrigation systems still exist undamaged up to now, in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, because of the advanced and precise engineering; the system was further extended during the reign of King Parakrama Bahu. The oldest known hydraulic engineers of China were Sunshu Ao of the Spring and Autumn period and Ximen Bao of the Warring States period, both of whom worked on large irrigation projects. In the Sichuan region belonging to the state of Qin of ancient China, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System devised by the Qin Chinese hydrologist and irrigation engineer Li Bing was built in 256 BCE to irrigate a vast area of farmland that today still supplies water. By the 2nd century AD, during the Han Dynasty, the Chinese used chain pumps which lifted water from a lower elevation to a higher one.
These were powered by manual foot-pedal, hydraulic waterwheels, or rotating mechanical wheels pulled by oxen. The water was used for public works, providing water for urban residential quarters and palace gardens, bu