A Well of History

According to some archeologists, the world’s oldest water wells are in Cyprus. These wells carbon-date back to nearly 10,500 years, and prove that wells are one of the oldest of human inventions.

While the wells in Cyprus are made of stone, other researchers have discovered extremely old wooden water wells in the Greater Leipzig region of Germany. These are thought to be the oldest timber constructions in the world. In fact, a team of experts estimate that the wells were built in the early Neolithic period between the years 5206 and 5098 B.C. Two wells from this period have also been discovered in Israel, specifically in Atlit (on the northern coast of Israel) and Jezreel Valley.

Survival and Solace

It’s a well-known fact that humans need water to survive. Not only is it one of our basic needs, but it’s one of the most primary of our basic needs; after all, a human being can live a lot longer when deprived of food than of water. It makes sense, then, that early humans would invest their time, labor and energy into constructing sustainable ways of drawing water from the earth.

The Aborigines of Australia, for example, relied on wells to survive the harsh conditions of the Australian desert. In fact, they designed methods of extracting and storing water that are now referred to as native wells, soaks, or soakages. Digging down into the ground, the Aborigines would scoop out sand and mud until they found clean water. Once found, the Aborigines would cover the water source with spinifex – various clump-forming perennial grasses found in Australia – to prevent the clean water from spoiling.

In other parts of the world, such as India, wells were used as a way to provide solace from the scorching daytime heat. These wells, known as step wells, were constructed so that water could be reached by descending a set of steps. It just goes to show that even in ancient times, wells were a source of survival and comfort!

Changing Technologies

While wells may be thousands and thousands of years old, the technologies used to drill or dig those wells have changed over the course of history. Until recent centuries, all wells were pumpless, hand-dug wells. While the technologies have changed – we know have driven and drilled wells – hand-dug wells continue to be a critical source of potable water to rural communities, especially in developing areas. Their history and indispensability to these communities is best attested in the ongoing historical and artistic references to hand-dug wells. For example, there are numerous stories of great historical and symbolic significance that occur in the Bible and other religious texts and major artworks.

If you need a well, you need to know where the water is before you call the well drillers. Since well drillers charge for their services no matter if they hit water or not, you could spend thousands of dollars on a dry well, so contact American Water Surveyors. We have technologically-advanced equipment and the experience you need to find the best place for the well diggers to drill.