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Urban water supply in Punic and Roman Sardinia

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The study of Punic and Roman water supply systems in Sardinia (Western Mediterranean) has developed significantly over the last few decades of research. Due to the particular climatic conditions, the problem of water supply in the island has always been strongly felt. Water management systems were therefore of vital importance in the organization of private and public spaces in antiquity. Methods of planning and construction became quite precise, as did systems for control and maintenance; their use and evolution over the centuries could be seen in relation to expansion of urban centers and to demographic increase, to higher urban living standards, to enlarge of production systems and, maybe, to climatic variations. The purpose of this article is to provide a comparative overview of the most significant urban areas of Sardinia during the Punic and Roman period. The description of water works (wells, cisterns, tanks, channels), of techniques of water usage, of construction technologies, also with regards on public buildings directly fed by them, will give a comprehensive framework regarding these fundamental types of structures. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Water, Health, and Sanitation Human Water > Water Governance Science of Water > Water Extremes
Map of Sardinia with the position of the cities mentioned in the text (elaborated by author)
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The parallel‐chambers cistern, so‐called Fontana romana, in Sant'Antioco. (Reprinted with permission from Marongiu (). Copyright 2002 Architetture, Sant'Antioco (Italy) & Marongiu A.)
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The acqueduct of Olbia. (Reprinted with permission from Sforza (). Copyright 1999 Editalia, Roma (Italy))
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Approximate paths of Sardinian Roman aqueducts (Source: From Google Earth)
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An example of “bottle‐shaped” cistern from Nora (elaborated by author)
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A Roman well of Nora, endowed with an inflow water channel (photo by author)
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The pre‐Forum district of Nora: The construction of the cistern and the obliteration of one of the former Punic well. (Reprinted with permission from Bonetto (, tav. VIII). Copyright 2009 Italgraf, Noventa Padovana (Italy) & UniPd)
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Nora: Wells and cisterns of ancient city, with the indications of the areas mentioned in the text (elaborated by author)
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Plan of Olbia with indication of ancient wells and cisterns—in dark red circles, the Punic water works. (Reprinted with permission from Mezzolani (, p. 136). Copyright 2014 VML, Rahden/Westf (Germany))
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An example of “elliptic” or “bathtub‐shaped” cistern from Nora (photo by author)
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THE so‐called “Mastio” in Monte Sirai and the position of the elliptic cistern (Reprinted with permission from Barreca (, p. 74). Copyright 1986 Carlo Delfino ed., Sassari (Italy))
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The pre‐Forum district of Nora, with the indication of the three Punic wells. (Reprinted with permission from Bonetto (, tav. VI). Copyright 2009, Italgraf, Noventa Padovana (Italy) & UniPd)
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Map of Cagliari, mentioned sites: (a) Centrale Enel; (b) via Po‐via Campo Scipione; (c) via Brenta. (d) rest home “Vittorio Emanuele II”; (e) Orto Botanico. (Reprinted with permission from Angiolillo (). Copyright 1987 Jaca Book, Milano (Italy))
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Plan of archaeological evidences of the sector III F in the area of the Cronicario (S. Antioco). (Reprinted with permission from Bernardini (, p. 58). Copyright 1997 S'Alvure, Oristano (Italy))
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Science of Water > Water Extremes
Human Water > Water Governance
Engineering Water > Water, Health, and Sanitation

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