Water Supply and Water Management at Ancient Sabra (Jordan)
Author: Lindner, Manfred
Source: Palestine Exploration Quarterly, Volume 137, Number 1, April 2005 , pp. 33-52(20)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The oasis town of Sabra, situated about7·5 km SSW from the Nabataean capital Petra in present-day Jordan, was explored by the author and groups of the Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg (Germany) in1982 and 1990. The little town boasts a kind of acropolis, a temple, a theatre and a number of presumably private lodgings. Architectural remains and still rare pieces of sculpture together with pottery finds date Sabra to the first century of the Nabataean period and to the Late Roman time. Of special interest are the water supply systems and the water management for an apparently growing population. There is a spring which would not have produced enough water throughout the year and, notably, over lengthy periods of drought. The damage done by unexpected floods had to be prevented by storing and directing water. Natural hollows, gutters and gullies were cleverly used to divert rainwater from the steep rock wall of Jabal al-Jathum into the theatre and farther on. Another hydraulic system consisted of a 17 m long dam collecting the run-off from a basin-shaped valley. An ingeniously constructed conduit brought the collected water across a number of aqueducts down to the wadi for further use in the town. The water management of Sabra is compared with similar constructions in other Nabataean places, such as es-Sadeh, Umm Ratam, the ed-Deir plateau at Petra and, thus suggesting the construction date, with the Hasmonaean hydraulic works of c.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-04-01