Bahrain National Museum, 7th – 9th January 2024
Co-organized by Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK


Live Streaming Links EnglishArabic
First Day: 7 Jan 2024 Link Link
Second Day: 8 Jan 2024 Link Link
Third Day: 9 Jan 2024 Link Link


The archaeology of irrigation technology and water management is vast and encompasses a wide range of structures. These structures include subterranean tunnels such as qanāts, falaj, foggara, and ghayl, as well as reservoirs, cisterns, canals, aqueducts, tanks, fountains, water mills, wells, dams, and barrages. These structures have been utilized in a variety of contexts, including mountains, deserts, forests, agricultural, horticultural, urban, village, military, riverine, estuarine, coastal, and lacustrine environments. The time period in which these structures were developed and utilized spans from the seventh through to the nineteenth centuries.


By studying these structures and their contexts, archaeologists gain insight into the ways in which ancient societies managed and utilized water resources. This knowledge can inform modern water management practices and help us to better understand the relationship between humans and the environment throughout history.


Despite the widespread use of these technologies, the origins, diffusion, and independent development of these structures remain poorly understood in many areas. To address this issue, a conference will be held to examine the diverse ways in which past populations developed hydraulic infrastructure for moving and managing water across the Islamic World. The conference will employ a global focus, encompassing the Middle East and North Africa, South, Southeast, and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and former European territories such as the Iberian Peninsula and parts of the Balkans.


The conference will also explore the potential of past human ingenuity in developing hydraulic infrastructure, which may hold lessons for the present and offer solutions for the future as humanity faces the challenges of environmental and climate change. The archaeological remains of these structures may hold such potential, and the conference aims to assess just how this potential can be realized.


The conference's themes will be expertly addressed by a panel of distinguished speakers, each a leading specialist in their respective fields. We warmly welcome audience participation, both in-person and online. Pre-registration is required for both options, and it is completely free of charge. We look forward to your attendance and engagement in this exciting event.