International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association
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1st International Conference on Rain Water Cistern Systems
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - June 1982

Section 1: History Of Cisterns

Page 16

History of Yucatan Cisterns

Tuchee Gordillo
University of Yucatan, Mexico

Ernesto Gonzalez L.
Instituto Regional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico

Salvador Gaona V.,
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico


The development of civilizations is always associated with sources of fresh water - the more usual sources being natural rivers or lakes. In some cases, the state of technical development permits the settlement of cities where only rain water is available. The systems constructed to collect and store rain water are historically the oldest hydraulic works. This system is practiced all over the world under the same principles: a catchment area that collects rain water, a transport system that conducts the collected water and a storage vessel where the water remains until needed. The differences vary according to the type of material, ecological/economic conditions and the state of the architecture or design. Here is a brief presentation of the ways developed by the Yucatecans settled in the Peninsula of Yucatan - the Mayas and modern inhabitants. The observations and data were obtained from different studies and direct observations and measurements of the authors. The presentation covers the beginning of the classical Maya period (300 A.D.) to the present.

PDF of full document (7pp, 230kb)

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