West Asian sewage – Mesopotamia and Iran

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A sewer from ancient Urartu (800s BC, now in eastern Turkey)

A sewer from ancient Urartu (800s BC, now in eastern Turkey)

As early as 800 BC, people in West Asia were digging ditches that led from their houses through the city streets to rivers to carry away their waste and drain off stormwater that flooded the streets when it rained (There were much earlier sewage drains in Harappan cities in India, and in Crete). Construction workers covered these ditches with slabs of stone to make sewers.

The Assyrians laid sewer lines all over their cities in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Syria). To keep from having to use big stones, they used arches made of many small stones to cover their sewers.

Sewage drain at Persepolis (ca. 500 BC)

Sewage drain at Persepolis (ca. 500 BC)

The Persian empire, in the 400s and 300s BC, also used sewage systems to drain their streets and carry away waste.

Learn by doing: visit your local sewage plant; take a tour
More about West Asian science
Sewage in ancient China
Ancient Greek sewage
Ancient Roman sewage

Bibliography and further reading about West Asian science:

Sewage in ancient China
Ancient Greek sewage
Ancient Roman sewage

By | 2017-09-16T12:48:38+00:00 September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. West Asian sewage – Mesopotamia and Iran. Quatr.us Study Guides, September 16, 2017. Web. November 18, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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