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December 4, 2001
9780801866265
English
256
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1.1 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference
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April 1, 2003
9780801872839
9780801866265
English
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24
12
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6.00 Inches (US)
$49.00 USD, £36.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Water Technology in the Middle Ages

Cities, Monasteries, and Waterworks after the Roman Empire

Focusing attention on gravity-fed water-flow systems in medieval cities and monasteries, Water Technology in the Middle Ages: Cities, Monasteries, and Waterworks after the Roman Empire challenges the view that hydraulic engineering died with the Romans and remained moribund until the Renaissance. Roberta Magnusson explores the systems' technologies—how they worked, what uses the water served—and also the social rifts that created struggles over access to this basic necessity.

Mindful of theoretical questions about what hastens technological change and how society and technology mutually influence one another, the author supplies a thoughtful and instructive study. Archeological, historical, and literary evidence vividly depicts those who designed, constructed, and used medieval water systems and demonstrates a shift from a public-administrative to a private-innovative framework—one that argues for the importance of local initiatives.

"The following chapters attempt to chart a course between the Scylla and Charybdis of technological and social determinism. While writing them, I have tried to strike a balance between the technical and human aspects of medieval hydraulic systems, and to remember that beneath the welter of documents and diffusion patterns, configurations and components, ordinances and expenditures, lie the perceptions, the choices, and often the plain hard work of individual men and women." —from the Preface

About the Author

Roberta J. Magnusson is an assistant professor in the Department of History at University of Oklahoma.

Reviews

"A concise but illuminating examination of the period's advanced hydraulic engineering . . . Writing in a scholarly yet graceful and nearly literary style, Magnusson brings a niche topic to life and her treatment is refreshingly devoid of verbosity, a common fault of books of this type. Instead, what comes through is an engaging, intelligent story and study of a fundamental technical challenge that we still struggle with, albeit in different ways, 700 to 800 years later."—Civil Engineering

"Well-written and well-organized . . . Throughout, [Magnusson's] documentation is careful and substantial, and she does a fine job of placing the history of water technology securely within its economic, social, and political context."—William H. TeBrake, H-France

"The particular value of this book lies in the convincing way Magnusson describes how medieval water systems functioned in differing social situations; the technological history is framed by general history very skillfully."—Petra J. E. M. van Dam, Technology and Culture

"A detailed look at gravity-flow water systems . . . Magnusson weaves together a wealth of information otherwise available only in scattered regional and archaeological studies."—Charles W. Clark, History: Reviews of New Books

"A richly interesting book on an unlikely topic."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"A well-written and carefully structured account of the provision of the medieval water supply."—Christopher Allmand, Historian

"An admirably comprehensive and systematic summary of the technology of medieval water systems."—Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"A fascinating introduction to the study of medieval complex water delivery systems."—Thomas F. Glick, Speculum

"Magnusson has combed through the scattered evidence to provide us with a clear picture of the builders and users of medieval water systems. This is a well-written work, a sound piece of scholarship, and the most comprehensive account of this subject to date."—Terry Reynolds, Michigan Tech University

9780801866265 : water-technology-in-the-middle-ages-magnusson
Hardback
256 Pages
$49.00 USD
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256 Pages
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