LOCAL APPLICATION OF THE TECHNIQUE THOLOS CISTERNS BELL CISTERNS AND PIT CISTERNS 36

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LOCAL APPLICATION OF THE TECHNIQUE
Technique: THOLOS-CISTERNS, BELL-CISTERNS AND PIT-CISTERNS
Local name: Caltum and Aguada
Site: Uxmal, Yucatan, MEXICO

Location

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Continent: North America
Country: Mexico
Site: Uxmal, Yucatan
Coordinates:
Lat: 20.36
Long: -89.75

Description of the local variant of the technique

In the inland areas of Yucatan the Mayas had instead to solve the problem of finding sufficient water resources in all seasons in order to meet the needs of the massive urban areas and of agriculture. These needs could not be satisfied by the natural cave reservoirs or by the Cenote pools alone. Moreover the latter were subject to the seasonal changes in level, to salinity due to the link with the underground passages down to the sea or to desiccation by obstruction of the tunnels. Bell-shaped cisterns called Chultum were dug out of the stone to obtain drinking water supplies. In the classic age, from the 3rd century AD, the development of important towns was organized around natural depressions called Aguada, into which the water collected by the dams and cisterns along the slopes flowed. The surfaces of the Aguada were paved with flat stones whose joins were waterproofed by means of red and brown clay. Wells and Chultun were dug at the bottom to keep the water when the Aguada dried up. The system is very similar to the technique of the cisterns typical of the Apulian karst areas in the south of Italy. At the end of the classic age, around the 9th century AD, driven by defensive purposes or under the pressure of the need to irrigate by the force of gravity larger and larger areas of farmland the Maya hydraulic technology developed so much that it exploited the highest peaks as harvesting systems. Thus the town itself with its numerous step pyramids, the monumental architecture, the paved squares and the large courtyards became a big rainwater harvesting system.

Survival prospects

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TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUE DATA

Technique
THOLOS-CISTERNS, BELL-CISTERNS AND PIT-CISTERNS
Icon
Cathegory
C - Water management
Identification code
C2a
Other Local applications of the technique

RELATED TECHNIQUES

Author:
IPOGEA, www.ipogea.org
Other authors:
Reference:

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