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Finni
07-25-2008, 05:11 AM
After a year and a half of unsuccessful research, I was hoping someone here would just happen to know how people transported water in pre-pottery times. The time frame I am concerned with is around 8500 BCE give or take 500 years. The water would have to last about 5 days for one or two people.

Thank you :e2arms:

Don Allen
07-25-2008, 05:23 AM
The field museum in Chicago will take calls to differnet depts. You might get through to some one who can help.

My best guess, very amatuer, palm leaves woven into a basket, fallen tree trunks from light weight woods such as bamboo, or giant red wood, or cured animal hyde.....

Puma
07-25-2008, 05:30 AM
Animal bladders were used in quite a few areas from what I understand. Puma

hammerklavier
07-25-2008, 05:33 AM
Most likely animal skins, especially if the culture had sewing technology... but I think you need to pick a culture and research it. Jungle cultures would probably use something like the banana leaves or coconut shells. The mongols (obviously much later than your time period) would use mare's milk and blood as a sort of reserve ration. Pressing water out of foods with high water content has been done, especially cactus in the desert cultures.

Finni
07-25-2008, 06:02 AM
Most likely animal skins, especially if the culture had sewing technology... but I think you need to pick a culture and research it. Jungle cultures would probably use something like the banana leaves or coconut shells. The mongols (obviously much later than your time period) would use mare's milk and blood as a sort of reserve ration. Pressing water out of foods with high water content has been done, especially cactus in the desert cultures.


I am sorry, I thought I typed where but I didn't. In the fertile crescent, from Jerico north to Southern Turkey, and then down to Southern Iraq.

Keyan
07-25-2008, 12:20 PM
Leather bottles or bags, I'd guess. In India, they still make water-bags out of nearly the whole hide of a goat. It's used for things like spraying water to keep down dust.

If your culture has the tech to cure hides, this will work. It'll probably taste horrid, but any water is better than none.

Mac H.
07-25-2008, 01:14 PM
Just out of interest, was this era really 'pre-pottery'?

I know that the pottery wheel was a technology breakthrough that led to an explosion of uses, but surely it existed well before then ... even if it wasn't as elegant ?

I don't really know, of course - this is just speculation.

Mac

MelancholyMan
07-25-2008, 06:35 PM
8,500 BC is pre-historical, pre-tin, pre-bronze. I do not believe there are any extant examples of pottery or people carrying water at this time. Which doesn't mean they didn't.

Several ways that make sense:

Animal bladders, as someone else already suggested.
Sewn-leather sealed with pitch
Hollowed out pieces of wood (bamboo or something like bamboo) lined with pitch
Hollowed out animal horn.
Hollowed out stone.

Since all of these artifacts are protein based, it us unlikely any would have survived to be found by archaeologists unless specially preserved for burials.

But remember, there are a lot of things we take for granted, that people just couldn't do then. And wouldn't even think to try. One of the reasons people stayed put was because they couldn't transport things like water. That's why deserts were such important geographical dividers. They could not be crossed.

I don't know where your story takes place, but the last of the great ice sheets were still in retreat 8,500 years ago. Have someone carve a block of ice out of a glacier, wrap it in animal skins, and carry it on their back. A big chunk of ice with a little insulation takes a while to melt. Some natives in the Andes still transport water that way to this day.

-MM

RJK
07-25-2008, 07:25 PM
I read this in a Jean Aul (SP) book, Ayla used finely woven grass baskets. When the basket got wet, the dried grass would swell and become watertight. She also used large animal stomachs.

Sarpedon
07-25-2008, 07:29 PM
I would say it depends on the local conditions.

I don't think you even need to line bamboo with pitch to make them waterproof.

Consider also gourds, tortise shells, and the inner organs of animals.

Also to expand on hammerklavier's point about pressing water out of foods, the ancient egyptians invented beer, but it was made from soaking loaves of bread with water, letting it ferment, then squeezing it out. I never thought of it that way until I read hammerklavier's post, but maybe it originated with the practice of using loaves to transport water?

Finni
07-25-2008, 07:55 PM
Just out of interest, was this era really 'pre-pottery'?

I know that the pottery wheel was a technology breakthrough that led to an explosion of uses, but surely it existed well before then ... even if it wasn't as elegant ?

I don't really know, of course - this is just speculation.

Mac

Yes, this time frame and location is known as PPN (pre pottery neolithic) and is divided into different eras.

I suspected I would have to have my MC use animal bladder or stomach. I like the goat skin idea too. They just started domesticating them at around that time.

TY for your help everyone. :e2bike2:

jclarkdawe
07-25-2008, 08:13 PM
My guess is people traveled water source to water source and didn't transport water very long distance. Assuming a gallon of water per day (which is probably not enough to survive on while traveling, especially in the climate you're describing) for five days, the initial load would be 40 pounds (5 gallons at 8 pounds per gallon).

Add in food, you're talking a heavy starting load. This is going to reduce your speed and increase your travel time.

Water also sloshes. Forty pounds of water moving back and forth is going to become uncomfortable very quickly. I'd suggest strapping a 5 gallon plastic jerry can on your back filled with water and walking a mile. Remember that the slosh factor gets worse as the container empties.

I know in the southwest US, the Indians traveled water hole to water hole, even if that meant walking two or three times farther to get from point A to point B.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MelancholyMan
07-25-2008, 09:37 PM
I remember another method I've heard of - sponges. Sponges out of the ocean could be saturated and used to carry water. Especially if wrapped in something like an animal skin or woven plant fibers.

-MM

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-26-2008, 10:10 PM
After a year and a half of unsuccessful research, I was hoping someone here would just happen to know how people transported water in pre-pottery times.

The Bedouins ... no pottery ... used sheepskins, sewed them shut and applied plant resins and pitch and even natural tar to the inside and to the seams. If you are careful, you can remove the ski with an amazingly small hole to minimize the sewing

Also, large gourds with a wad of grass for a stopper are still used today for canteens.

Depending on heat and humidity and diet, you need about 1/2 to 1 gallon of water per person perday.

milhistbuff1
07-26-2008, 10:58 PM
Goat skin(Eur.) and deer skin (Nor. Am.) were often used as well.

Tsu Dho Nimh
07-28-2008, 03:59 AM
You can also use a pitch-coated basket ... the water tastes like crap in a few days, but they don't leak too badly.

Finni
07-28-2008, 05:24 AM
Thank you all very much! You've been very helpful.