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Water supply of ancient Egyptian settlements: the role of the state. Overview of a relatively equitable scheme from the Old to New Kingdom (ca. 2543-1077 BC).

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Driaux, Delphine 


The study of the textual and archaeological evidence shows that the water supply of the settlements of ancient Egypt seems to have worked on a simple and a relatively equitable scheme, at least from the Old Kingdom until the New Kingdom (ca. 2543-1077). The water supply of the inhabitants was completely managed by the state, through the local administration which was charged to bring the water, in general from a rural area, into towns and cities and to redistribute it to the inhabitants. The method of supply is illustrated by several sources of evidence, in particular by the well known case of the "water-carriers" of the village of Deir el-Medina. Thus, drawing together text and archaeology, this paper will demonstrate that over an extended period, even when the city was far from a water source, the state did not set up complex installations such as pipe networks or wells to bring water, but preferred a simpler system using the manpower available.


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Ancient Egypt, Local administration, Settlements, State, Water supply

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Water Hist

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC