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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Garbrecht, Jurgen
item Garbrecht, Gunther

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2005
Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Citation: Garbrecht, J.D., Garbrecht, G. 2005. Water Supply Challenges and Solutions of the Ancient City of Pergamon. In: Proceedings of the 2005 Oklahoma Water Conference. Environmental Institute and Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Dept. September 27-28, 2005, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Paper No. 6. 1-5 p.

Interpretive Summary: The city of Pergamon, capital of the Hellenistic Kingdom Pergamon and cultural center of the Roman province Asia, was situated in the Kaikos valley in western Anatolia, Turkey, about 30 km inland from the Aegean sea. Pergamon was situated atop a steep, rocky hill. The location was selected based on defensive considerations and availability of water was given little thought. Local sources of water were sufficient to meet the modest needs of early Pergamon. As the population grew in the 3rd and 2nd century BC, lack of an adequate supply of water became a major problem. New water sources needed to be tapped and delivered to the city. The water sources of early Pergamon and the development of a sophisticated water supply system of pipelines and canels in Greek and Roman times are reviewed in this paper.

Technical Abstract: The city of Pergamon in western Turkey emerged as a power after the death of Alexander the Great and reached peak cultural and economic development during Hellenistic and Roman times. As early as 200 B.C., water requirements of the city exceeded locally available sources. First, the Greek, then the Romans, accessed and transferred water from far away sources to ensure a safe and reliable municipal water supply. In the 2nd century BC, the Greek constructed three pipelines to bring spring water from nearby hills to Pergamon. One of these pipelines contained an inverted siphon that had a pressure head up to about 600 ft. In the 2nd century AD, the Romans built three canals, two long canals in the valley of the Kaikos River and one in the mountains in parallel to an earlier Greek pipeline. Three pipelines were constructed at a much later time during Byzantine and Osmanic period. The water supply systems of the City of Pergamon were highly sophisticated and advanced for the times, and the craftsmanship and execution of supporting hydraulic structures were outstanding and deserve our outmost admiration.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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