How Ancient Technologies Can Help
Up to 70% less water in agriculture
Farming the desert
Preserving and restoring soil health
Water Harvesting in dry areas
100% local resources
Cradle to cradle materials cycle
Ancient Technologies in Development Aid and Green Architecture. Find more examples in our Blog.
Quotes from Professionals
Archaeology can play a significant role in development projects, especially those focusing on improving agricultural production. (…) Because many systems, such as raised fields, have been completely abandoned, archaeology may be the only way to understand these technologies. Archaeological excavation of prehistoric agricultural features can provide the model for the rehabilitation of these abandoned field systems.
Although the majority of the World´s dry lands are still farmed by small scale, subsistence farmers, low cost simple irrigation methods for dry land agriculture have largely been ignored by international development programs. Efficient traditional methods of irrigation that could be of great use on small and medium sized farms and gardens have not been well studied and publicized.
For this purpose, the study of ancient water harvesting technologies can not only give valuable information to engineers, planners, and local initiatives on technical aspects of those systems. It can also give indications of possible short- and long-term effects a reimplementation might have on the environment and the people involved.
Hence, due to the impressive capabilities of some old technologies, the question arises: is it necessary to frequently reinvent the wheel or is there a way to purposeful identify and use old technologies and solution concepts? (…) These ancient technologies are often as good as modern technologies or even better.
Thus, applied archaeology is not just about accessing a lost idea or technology but rather about its ability to fundamentally redefine the perspective from which a problem is addressed.
Understanding the impacts that land use and climate change had on a watershed at a particular archeological site can provide local inhabitants with the knowledge they need to manage their water resources.
It is also seen that the use of indigenous earthquake-resistant construction technologies provides an excellent opportunity for large-scale construction of earthquake-resistant housing in developing countries at relatively low cost.
The controlled water delivery from buried clay pot irrigation helps ensure seed germination even in hot dry environments and provides young seedlings with a steady water supply even during periods with very high temperatures, low humidity, and desiccating winds. This controlled water delivery is also of great value in coarse sand or gravel soils that drain quickly.
The karez is a unique and fascinating irrigation system with a long history in the Turpan oasis. It provided water for domestic consumption and agriculture and maintained a unique ecosystem in the desert. However, nowadays the karezes are increasingly abandoned and are not being maintained. This is partly due to the fact that the value of the karez is not well understood. Thus, the government and local communities should join efforts to preserve and restore this ancient irrigation system.
Using placebased case studies with locally contingent and motivated solutions is important, but it is accessing knowledge from the past that has been lost to the passage of time, presenting it in interesting ways, encouraging people to engage with it, and creating the necessary knowledge and social dynamics to focus on education that are vital. Because in the end it is education and human capacity built on informed positions that provide the best hope of solutions to the impacts of global environmental change.
Archäologie beschäftigt sich nicht nur mit unserer Vergangenheit, sondern trägt auch zur Lösung aktueller Probleme bei. In den kommenden drei Jahren wird deshalb das Landesamt für Archäologie Sachsen gemeinsam mit dem Staatsbetrieb Sachsenforst sowie dem Institut für Botanik und Landschaftsökologie der Universität Greifswald das Datenpotential archäologischer Hölzer als Klima- und Vegetationsarchiv erforschen. Die Ergebnisse sollen dabei helfen, die heutigen Wälder besser an den Klimawandel anzupassen.
The revival of interest in water harvesting is attributed to huge problems that have accrued due to long periods of drought since the 1970s, as well as to the current acute water shortage in the region [West Asia-North Africa] and to an increasing demand for food and fiber as the result of a population explosion. Also, the use of modem technologies for water abstraction and diversion, particularly from groundwater aquifers, is damaging in its over-exploitation of limited natural resources. These practices severely endanger the sustainability of such development. Indigenous techniques of water control and utilization are, by their nature, environmentally friendly and thus sustainable.
Services for Museums
Exhibitions and Programmes
Benefit in multiple ways from including ancient materials, technologies and knowledge in modern contexts into your exhibition and programme:
- Show your visitors the positive impact of archaeology on today’s major ecological challenges.
- Attract new customers and supporters by addressing popular and relatable topics such as climate change, water and food scarcity, drought or environmental pollution and showing modern solutions based on ancient technologies and knowledge.
- Get involved in rising awareness for Archaeology’s contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Educational webinars for museum staff
Learn about the diverse contexts in which ancient technologies and knowledge have been implemented in recent years to solve pressing ecological problems, for example:
- Large scale water supply in Sri Lanka and Irak
- Agricultural and land protection projects in South America
- UN funded clay pot irrigation projects in multiple states of Africa
- Bush fire management in Australia
- Agroforestry and Green architecture worldwide
Hire a Speaker
Offer a special opportunity to your donors and supporters, online or on site: A professional archaeologist talking about a topic of your choice related to ancient technologies in modern contexts, including Q&As and a recording of the talk for your website.
Services for Development Aid Organisations
We support you in finding sustainable local solutions in challenging environments.