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how were the first water wells drilled

2023-06-11

Thousands of years ago, man-made wells sprung up in the Middle East, created with the simple hand tools of a sharpened stick and a bucket or a skin bag. These tiny oases of water were placed close to settlements, so people wouldn’t have to venture far to be quenched. This is how the first water wells – conceived and implemented over four millennia ago – came into being.

Over the centuries, knowledge and technologies evolved and soon people began to devise increasingly intricate methods for drilling wells. Way back in the first millennium BC, advancements in drilling were made in China and Persia (now Iran), where human ingenuity had discovered a way to use a bamboo pole fitted with a sharpened stone at its end. This was then affixed to a rope and manually operated with a hand crank, rotating the drill bit, gnawing away inch-by-inch until a hole was bored into the ground.

In the early days of ancient Rome, wells with an impressive stature were bored into the earth. These pits descended down for up to an incredible 100 meters but were also broad enough to accommodate 6 meter-wide diameters. This was done purposefully since their capacity allowed numerous individuals to gather water simultaneously.

The ‘Baotou Deep Well’ in China stands tall, reaching over 1500 metres into the depths of the Earth. Constructed almost 40 years ago in 1980, it is the world’s deepest well and supplies water to the city of Baotou. It is a modern marvel.



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