Water History | Markonis et al. [2016]


The Greek island of Crete is one of the southernmost regions of Europe with a long and rich history, which begins as early as ca. 3200 BC with the onset of the Minoan civilization. The archeological findings of well-designed water supply and sewerage systems in the Minoan Palaces and other settlements, with impressive architecture and high-level functionality, suggest a good degree of understanding of the basic water management techniques well before the scientific achievements of our times. Here we document characteristic examples of the ancient hydraulic works and the related hydro-technologies throughout the history of Crete. We summarize the pressures on the water resources in Crete in connection with climatic variability and investigate how and what could be learned from the past using recent findings and paleoclimatology. The reconstructions of the Eastern Mediterranean and more specifically of the Cretan climate using different proxy data (e.g. sediment, pollen, and historical archives) demonstrate a series of alternating periods with varying climatic characteristics with fluctuation lengths spanning from a few decades to many centuries. The synthesis of the on-going research on past climate offers the opportunity to create a picture of the Cretan climatic regime for the last 10,000 years, which could be useful to both hydrologists and archeologists. As the past is the key to the future, the information provided could help in developing modern integrated and sustainable water management plans.

Full text can be found here.

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