A harpoon is a long spear-like instrument used in fishing, whaling and other marine hunting to catch large fish or marine mammals such as whales. It accomplishes this task by impaling the target animal and securing it with barb or toggling claws, allowing the fishermen to use a rope or chain attached to the butt of the projectile to catch the animal. A harpoon can be used as a weapon. In the 1990s, harpoon points, known as the Semliki harpoons or the Katanda harpoons, were found in the Katanda region in Zaire; as the earliest known harpoons, these weapons were made and used 90,000 years ago, most to spear catfishes. In Japan, spearfishing with poles was widespread in palaeolithic times during the Solutrean and Magdalenian periods. Cosquer Cave in Southern France contains cave art over 16,000 years old, including drawings of seals which appear to have been harpooned. There are references to harpoons in ancient literature, though, in most cases, the descriptions do not go into detail. An early example can be found in the Bible in Job 41:7: "Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?"
The Greek historian Polybius, in his Histories, describes hunting for swordfish by using a harpoon with a barbed and detachable head. Copper harpoons were known to the seafaring Harappans well into antiquity. Early hunters in India include the Mincopie people, aboriginal inhabitants of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, who have used harpoons with long cords for fishing since early times; the two flue harpoon was the primary weapon used in whaling around the world, but it tended to penetrate no deeper than the soft outer layer of blubber. Thus it was possible for the whale to escape by struggling or swimming away forcefully enough to pull the shallowly embedded barbs out backwards; this flaw was corrected in the early nineteenth century with the creation of the one flue harpoon. In the Arctic, the indigenous people used the more advanced toggling harpoon design. In the mid-19th century, the toggling harpoon was adapted by Lewis Temple; the Temple toggle was used, came to dominate whaling. In his famous novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville explained the reason for the harpoon's effectiveness: In most land animals there are certain valves or flood gates in many of their veins, whereby when wounded, the blood is in some degree at least shut off in certain directions.
Not so with the whale. Yet so vast is the quantity of blood in him, so distant and numerous its interior fountains, that he will keep thus bleeding and bleeding for a considerable period, he describes another device, at times a necessary addition to harpoons: All whale-boats carry certain curious contrivances invented by the Nantucket Indians, called druggs. Two thick squares of wood of equal size are stoutly clenched together, so that they cross each other's grain at right angles, it is chiefly among gallied whales. For more whales are close round you than you can chase at one time, but sperm whales are not every day encountered. And if you cannot kill them all at once, you must wing them, so that they can be afterwards killed at your leisure. Hence it is; the first use of explosives in the hunting of whales was made by the British South Sea Company in 1737, after some years of declining catches. A large fleet was armed with cannon-fired harpoons. Although the weaponry was successful in killing the whales, most of the catch sank before being retrieved.
However, the system was still used, underwent successive improvements at the hands of various inventors over the next century, including Abraham Stagholt in the 1770s and George Manby in the early 19th century. William Congreve, who invented some of the first rockets for British Army use, designed a rocket-propelled whaling harpoon in the 1820s; the shell was designed to impale the whale with the harpoon. The weapon was in turn attached by a line to the boat, the hope was that the explosion would generate enough gas within the whale to keep it afloat for retrieval. Expeditions were sent out to try this new technology; these early devices, called bomb lances, became used for the hunting of humpbacks and right whales. A notable user of these early explosive harpoons was the American Thomas Welcome Roys in 1865, who set up a shore station in Seydisfjördur, Iceland. A slump in oil prices after the American Civil War forced their endeavor into bankruptcy in 1867. An early version of the explosive harpoon was designed by Jacob Nicolai Walsøe, a Norwegian painter and inventor.
His 1851 application was rejected by the interior ministry on the grounds that he had received public funding for his experiments. In 1867, a Danish fi
History of technology
The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques and is one of the categories of the history of humanity. Technology can refer to methods ranging from as simple as stone tools to the complex genetic engineering and information technology that has emerged since the 1980s; the term technology comes from the Greek word techne, meaning art and craft, the word logos, meaning word and speech. It was first used to describe applied arts, but it is now used to described advancements and changes which affect the environment around us. New knowledge has enabled people to create new things, conversely, many scientific endeavors are made possible by technologies which assist humans in traveling to places they could not reach, by scientific instruments by which we study nature in more detail than our natural senses allow. Since much of technology is applied science, technical history is connected to the history of science. Since technology uses resources, technical history is connected to economic history.
From those resources, technology produces other resources, including technological artifacts used in everyday life. Technological change affects and is affected by, a society's cultural traditions, it is a force for economic growth and a means to develop and project economic, military power and wealth. Many sociologists and anthropologists have created social theories dealing with social and cultural evolution. Some, like Lewis H. Morgan, Leslie White, Gerhard Lenski have declared technological progress to be the primary factor driving the development of human civilization. Morgan's concept of three major stages of social evolution can be divided by technological milestones, such as fire. White argued. For White, "the primary function of culture" is to "harness and control energy." White differentiates between five stages of human development: In the first, people use the energy of their own muscles. In the second, they use the energy of domesticated animals. In the third, they use the energy of plants.
In the fourth, they learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, gas. In the fifth, they harness nuclear energy. White introduced a formula P=E*T, where E is a measure of energy consumed, T is the measure of the efficiency of technical factors using the energy. In his own words, "culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased". Nikolai Kardashev extrapolated his theory, creating the Kardashev scale, which categorizes the energy use of advanced civilizations. Lenski's approach focuses on information; the more information and knowledge a given society has, the more advanced. He identifies four stages of human development, based on advances in the history of communication. In the first stage, information is passed by genes. In the second, when humans gain sentience, they can pass information through experience. In the third, the humans start develop logic. In the fourth, they can develop language and writing.
Advancements in communications technology translate into advancements in the economic system and political system, distribution of wealth, social inequality and other spheres of social life. He differentiates societies based on their level of technology and economy: hunter-gatherer, simple agricultural, advanced agricultural, special. In economics, productivity is a measure of technological progress. Productivity increases. Another indicator of technological progress is the development of new products and services, necessary to offset unemployment that would otherwise result as labor inputs are reduced. In developed countries productivity growth has been slowing since the late 1970s. For example, employment in manufacturing in the United States declined from over 30% in the 1940s to just over 10% 70 years later. Similar changes occurred in other developed countries; this stage is referred to as post-industrial. In the late 1970s sociologists and anthropologists like Alvin Toffler, Daniel Bell and John Naisbitt have approached the theories of post-industrial societies, arguing that the current era of industrial society is coming to an end, services and information are becoming more important than industry and goods.
Some extreme visions of the post-industrial society in fiction, are strikingly similar to the visions of near and post-Singularity societies. The following is a summary of the history of technology by time period and geography: During most of the Paleolithic – the bulk of the Stone Age – all humans had a lifestyle which involved limited tools and few permanent settlements; the first major technologies were tied to survival and food preparation. Stone tools and weapons and clothing were technological developments of major importance during this period. Human ancestors have been using stone and other tools since long before the emergence of Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago; the earliest methods of stone tool making, known as the Oldowan "industry", date back to at least 2.3 million years ago, with the earliest direct evidence of tool usage found in Ethiopia within the Great Rift Valley, dating back to 2.5 million years ago. This era of stone tool use is called the Paleolithic
Quern-stones are stone tools for hand-grinding a wide variety of materials. They are used in pairs; the lower, stone is called a quern, while the upper mobile stone is called a handstone. The central hole is called a handle slot enables the handstone to be rotated, they were first used in the Neolithic era to grind cereals into flour. An old Gaelic proverb is "The quern performs best when the grindstone has been pitted." The upper stones were concave whilst the lower was convex and sometimes a rind was present as a piece of wood etc that allowed the cereal etc to be added but still acted as a centering device. The upper stone sometimes had a cup shaped area around the hopper hole with a raised edge. Most handstones have a handle hole on the upper surface, however one class of quern-stones have a slot handle which indicates that a piece of wood was placed horizontally and protruded out from the edge so that the operator could turn the stone by standing and using a rod vertically. One class of upper quern-stones has from two to three sockets for the rod used to turn them and this is thought to reflect the need to reduce wear and tear by having alternative points of contact when in active use.
Quern-stones have been used by numerous civilizations throughout the world to grind materials, the most important of, grain to make flour for bread-making. They were replaced by millstones once mechanised forms of milling appeared the water mill and the windmill, although animals were used to operate the millstones. However, in many non-Westernised, non-mechanised cultures they are still manufactured and used and have only been replaced in many parts of the world in the last century or so. In early Maya civilizations the process of nixtamalization was distinctive in that hard, ripe kernels of maize were boiled in water and lime, thus producing nixtamal, made into unleavened dough for flat cakes by grinding with a handstone on a quern. Quern stones were used in China at least 10,000 years ago to grind wheat into flour; the production of flour by rubbing wheat by hand took several hours. Due to their form and the nature of the treatment of the surfaces, they reproduce the most ancient implements used for grinding cereal grain into flour.
Saddle querns were known in China during the Neolithic Age but rotary stone mills did not appear until the Warring States Period. A prehistoric quern dating back to 23,000 BCE was found at the Longwangchan archaeological site, in Hukou, Shaanxi in 2007; the site is located in the heartland of the northern Chinese loess plateau near the Yellow River. As well as grain, ethnographic evidence and Mesopotamian texts show that a wide range of foodstuffs and inorganic materials were processed using stone querns or mortars, including nuts, fruit, herbs, meat, pigments and clay. Moreover, one study analysing quern-stones noted that a number of querns had traces of arsenic and bismuth, unlike their source rocks, had levels of antimony which were ten times higher than those of the rocks; the authors concluded that this was due to the use of these querns in the preparation of medicines, dyes or in the manufacture of alloys. Querns were used in grinding metals ores after mining extraction; the aim was to liberate fine ore particles which could be separated by washing for example, prior to smelting.
They were thus used in gold mining in antiquity. In the Shetlands tobacco was not smoked when first introduced, but instead was ground up into snuff, inhaled up the nose. Snuff-querns consisted of an lower stone, fixed together by a central iron pivot; the quern was held on the user's lap, the eye of the quern was filled with dried tobacco leaves, the upper-stone was turned using the handle. The friction caused by the turning ground the leaves into a fine powder that built up around the edge of the lower-stone. Many snuff-querns had a small hole or cut made near the edge of the upper-stone, into which a pointed end of a lamb's horn was placed in order to turn the stone. There are, more surprising recorded uses of quern-stones. For example, DeBoer, in his review of the traditional gambling games of North American tribes, reports that one of the games involved bouncing a group of split canes off a quern. Violence is recorded in the Book of Judges: “But a certain woman threw an upper-millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushed his skull.”
The best type of stone from which to manufacture quern-stones are igneous rocks such as basalt. These have rough surfaces, but grains do not detach so the material being ground does not become gritty. However, such rocks are not always available, meaning that quern-stones have been manufactured from a wide variety of rocks, including sandstone and limestone. Quernmore Crag near Lancaster in England is named after the quarrying of millstone grit used to make quern stones in these parts. Rutter was able to show, for the southern Levant, that basalt quern-stones were preferred to those manufactured from other rock types. Basalt quern-stones were therefore transported over long-distances, leading him to argue that, despite their every-day, utilitarian function, they were used as a status symbol. Research in Scotland has indicated. Knocking stones were used in the preparation of small quantities of cereal however the earliest forms of quern were the saddle and trough querns; the earliest quern so far was found at Abu Hureyra, Syria.
A development was the rotary quern, which takes several forms. The saddle quern is produced by rocking or rolling
Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be adopted, it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at different dates in different places, the term is less used in discussing societies where prehistory ended recently. Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization, ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age; the three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania and much of Sub-Saharan Africa.
These areas with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, their prehistory reaches into recent periods. The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition, there are no written records from human prehistory, so dating of prehistoric materials is crucial. Clear techniques for dating were not well-developed until the 19th century; this article is concerned with human prehistory, the time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appeared until the beginning of recorded history. Earlier periods are called "prehistoric". Beginning The term "prehistory" can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or more to the time since human-like beings appeared. End The date marking the end of prehistory is defined as the advent of the contemporary written historical record.
The date varies from region to region depending on the date when relevant records become a useful academic resource. For example, in Egypt it is accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BCE, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more at around 1900 common era. In Europe the well-documented classical cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had neighbouring cultures, including the Celts and to a lesser extent the Etruscans, with little or no writing, historians must decide how much weight to give to the highly prejudiced accounts of these "prehistoric" cultures in Greek and Roman literature. Time periods In dividing up human prehistory in Eurasia, historians use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods use the well-defined geologic record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale; the three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies: Stone Age Bronze Age Iron Age The notion of "prehistory" began to surface during the Enlightenment in the work of antiquarians who used the word'primitive' to describe societies that existed before written records.
The first use of the word prehistory in English, occurred in the Foreign Quarterly Review in 1836. The use of the geologic time scale for pre-human time periods, of the three-age system for human prehistory, is a system that emerged during the late nineteenth century in the work of British and Scandinavian archeologists and anthropologists; the main source for prehistory is archaeology, but some scholars are beginning to make more use of evidence from the natural and social sciences. This view has been articulated by advocates of deep history; the primary researchers into human prehistory are archaeologists and physical anthropologists who use excavation and geographic surveys, other scientific analysis to reveal and interpret the nature and behavior of pre-literate and non-literate peoples. Human population geneticists and historical linguists are providing valuable insight for these questions. Cultural anthropologists help provide context for societal interactions, by which objects of human origin pass among people, allowing an analysis of any article that arises in a human prehistoric context.
Therefore, data about prehistory is provided by a wide variety of natural and social sciences, such as paleontology, archaeology, geology, comparative linguistics, molecular genetics and many others. Human prehistory differs from history not only in terms of its chronology but in the way it deals with the activities of archaeological cultures rather than named nations or individuals. Restricted to material processes and artifacts rather than written records, prehistory is anonymous; because of this, reference terms that prehistorians use, such as Neanderthal or Iron Age are modern labels with definitions sometimes subject to debate. The concept of a "Stone Age" is found useful in the archaeology of most of the world, though in the archaeology of the Americas it is called by different names and begins with a Lithic sta
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is used synonymously for outside northern Europe, for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus; the Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans 15,000 to 5,000 BP; the term is less used of areas further east, not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa. The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, the development of more sophisticated and smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic.
The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as complex, burials are simple; the terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was controversial. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later. Edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. By the time of Vere Gordon Childe's work, The Dawn of Europe, which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept.
However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used. "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic followed by the Mesolithic. As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for hunter-gatherer cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the Natufian culture. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for post-LGM hunter-gatherer cultures, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not.
In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology. The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or Azilian, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago, it ends with the introduction of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate; such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures.
Such conditions delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe. The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools, while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic. In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes. There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including Stonehenge, with a short row of large post holes aligned east-west, a possible "lunar calendar" at Warren Field in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the lunar phases. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP. As the "Neolithic package" (including farming, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pot
A basket is a container, traditionally constructed from stiff fibers, can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are woven by hand; some baskets are fitted with a lid. Baskets serve utilitarian as well as aesthetic purposes; some baskets are ceremonial, religious, in nature. While baskets are used for harvesting and transport, specialized baskets are used as sieves for a variety of purposes, including cooking, processing seeds or grains, tossing gambling pieces, fans, fish traps, laundry. Prior to the invention of woven baskets, people used tree bark to make simple containers; these containers could be used to transport gathered food and other items, but crumbled after only a few uses. Weaving strips of bark or other plant material to support the bark containers would be the next step, followed by woven baskets; the last innovation appears to be baskets so woven that they could hold water.
Depending on soil conditions, baskets may not be preserved in the archaeological record. Sites in the Middle East show that weaving techniques were used to make mats and also baskets, circa 8000 BCE. Twined baskets date back to 7000 in Oasisamerica. Baskets made with interwoven techniques were common at 3000 BCE. Baskets were designed as multi-purpose vessels to carry and store materials and to keep stray items about the home; the plant life available in a region affects the choice of material, which in turn influences the weaving technique. Rattan and other members of the Arecaceae or palm tree family, the thin grasses of temperate regions, broad-leaved tropical bromeliads each require a different method of twisting and braiding to be made into a basket; the practice of basket making has evolved into an art. Artistic freedom allows basket makers a wide choice of colors, sizes and details; the carrying of a basket on the head by rural women, has long been practised. Representations of this in Ancient Greek art are called Canephorae.
The phrase "to hell in a handbasket" means to deteriorate. The origin of this use is unclear. "Basket" is sometimes used as an adjective towards a person, born out of wedlock. This occurs more in British English. "Basket" refers to a bulge in a man's crotch. Basket makers use a wide range of materials: Wicker Straw Plastic Metal Bamboo Palm Carbon fiber Zepeda, Ofelia. Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert. ISBN 0-8165-1541-7. "Basket". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3. 1911. Baskets, The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
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