x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Thirst, a study of the ancient world's hydropower

A geocultural study of hydropower in the ancient world that examines not only the technical advances made by each race, but also the ensuing evolutions of their intra-communal social hierarchies.

Thirst
Steven Mithen
Weidenfeld and Nicolson

Thirst is a geocultural study of hydropower in the ancient world conveyed via the global wanderings of Steven Mithen, an expert on prehistory and archaeology at the University of Reading. Unlike most studies on the same topic, Prof Mithen has decided to eschew the well-known water cultures of ancient Egypt, the Assyrians, the Indus civilisation and others, in favour of obscure systems.

The book is divided into 10 chapters, each dedicated to one ancient civilisation. Aside from his own observations at the archaeological sites, Mithen intersperses excerpts from previous anthropological and historical studies into his work. Hence, Thirst is an examination of not only the technical advances made by each race, but also the ensuing evolutions of their intra-communal social hierarchies as deduced from the remains of the desert dwellers in Petra and the Hohokam tribe in Arizona, among others.

The end result is a cohesive, balanced historical presentation that is also accessible to non-academics. Taking the road (or stream) less travelled is a risk obviously worth taking.