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Document Details :
Title: Urartian Irrigation Systems
Subtitle: A Critical Review
Author(s): ÇIFÇI, Ali , GREAVES, Alan M.
Journal: Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Volume: 50 Date: 2013
This article presents a systematic review of the geographic, archaeological and textual evidence for irrigation systems in eastern Anatolia during the period of the Urartian Kingdom (ca. ninth to sixth centuries BC). Inscriptions from large water management systems clearly date them to the reigns of individual named kings and identify these systems as being works of the Urartian central authority. However, it is suggested here that some water management systems may have been constructed by communal effort or on behalf of local rulers. It is also suggested that not all of the systems identified were necessarily used for the irrigation of arable crops, as the size and geographic location of some of these facilities suggest that they would have been of more benefit to pastoralists. The general conclusion that there was agricultural intensification during the period of the Urartian Kingdom remains the best interpretation of the evidence currently available, but this should now be modified to note that such works were not necessarily conducted by the Urartian state itself and that they may have been intended to facilitate the intensification of both arable and pastoral agriculture in the region. Issues of chronology, location and interpretation will continue to remain central to discussions of this subject.