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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

All Research Projects

Publication details

Gerrard, C & Gutiérrez, A (2018). 'The Qanat in Spain: Archaeology and Environment'. In Water Management in Ancient Civilizations. Berkin, J Berlin: Edition Topoi. 197–226.

Author(s) from Durham


This article defines the elements of qanat technology in Spain and describes some recent projects that have advanced our understanding there. A brief bibliography is presented that reveals some of the confusion surrounding the classification, nomenclature, numbers, and distribution of qanat. Some examples from recent field research illustrate the complexity of the plants and show how different elements of hydraulic technology are combined. Hydraulic features at Citruenigo (Navarra), Bureta, Bulbuente and Daroca (all Aragón), Madrid, Toledo (Castilla-LaMancha) are described. Finally, recent research on the dating of qanats will be discussed and a recently completed project will be presented. in which construction phases and phases of maintenance were dated by means of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). This technique seems to offer significant potential for the future.

Department of Archaeology

Scottish Soldiers Project

Cooperating with the Palace Museum in China