The engineering of dams is a vital part of the story of civilization. Water reservoirs were undoubtedly among the earliest structures devised by mankind. The role of dams is documented in many records of ancient lands. They have been linked closely to the rise and decline of civilizations, especially to those cultures highly dependent upon irrigation.

                    Image courtesy of Hydria Virtual Museum
Upsteam face of northern wall, photo of 1982 © Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

Hydria Virtual Museum

As described in the previous sections of the case study the Sadd el-Kafara dam was probably constructed for flood control rather than irrigation. Due to the geographical and geological conditions prevailing in the catchment area around the dam, sudden storms lead to heavy floods with disastrous effects even today. Inhabitants of the region report of recent floods which have destroyed villages and claimed lives.

In the area of Helwan when the dam is situated other interesting findings have been discovered: remains of houses and tombs stone near Raas El Houf area date back to the Neolithic Age (4000 BC). Also, in 920 AD a young man named Ameen Omari discovered the presence of a wheat spike in the area that was later named after him (“The Omari Village”). Furthermore, several similar villages were discovered from the Neolithic age also near El Maasara.

Other discoveries of a large number of tombs belonged to princes, senior staff, and some of the common people dating back to the first and second Pharaonic families near “The Azbet Elwalda” where genuine artifacts were in the homes of indigenous farmers in the region (observed by Archaeologist Saadi Zaki during 1942 -1945).

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