Handbook of Clay Pot IrrigationAbout the Book

The first comprehensive handbook on clay pot irrigation covers both research and modern use of this ancient technology. It is organized in three parts providing quick access to individual information. Part one includes the analysis and evaluation of more than 100 scientific publications, experiments and field studies on clay pot irrigation in arid and semi-arid regions. Part two presents large-scale clay pot irrigation projects around the globe and discusses experiences, problems, solutions, and results with project managers and participants. The final part of the book addresses the future of clay pot irrigation in research and development projects. It outlines current research gaps and key issues and introduces new hybrid research and application approaches. The book closes with an analysis of the economical, ecological, and social impacts of clay pot irrigation in contexts of the sustainable development goals and outlines ways to implement the technology successfully in future development projects.

The book will be published in 2021.


Ancient clay pot irrigation is a sustainable micro irrigation system that can be applied in difficult contexts like extreme aridity, limited water supply, sandy soil, and high salinity of the irrigation water. It has been re-discovered in recent years as an adaptation strategy to climate change based on its water use efficiency and its potential to prevent or even reverse desertification. Clay pot irrigation was applied in large scale development projects, for example in India and Ethiopia, the latter in contexts of the Millenium Villages Project supported by the United Nations Development Programme.

Yet, despite its useful features this ancient technology is still largely unknown, to archaeologists as well as to ecologists, engineers, and to decision makers and practitioners from development aid contexts. This is due to several reasons: Scientific publications are often difficult or expensive to access and detailed publications on projects are practically non-existent; there is no comprehensive overview that would take into account both, scientific results and practical experience; scientists and practitioners are hardly interconnected.
The handbook addresses these problems and provides the first fundamental resource for future research, exchange and collaboration.

Keywords: Magical signs, Magical artefacts, Ancient Magic, Late Antiquity


Table of Contents


About clay pot irrigation (CPI)

    • What is clay pot irrigation?
    • In which contexts can clay pot irrigation be applied?
    • What are the benefits and drawbacks of clay pot irrigation?

History of clay pot irrigation

    • Archaeological record
    • Written transmission
    • Research gaps and how to address them

Part I: Clay pot irrigation in research
History of research

    • Overview
    • Types of studies
    • Experimental studies
    • Overviews
    • Other
    • Summary

Analysis of the experimental studies

    • Parameters and results
      • Characteristics of the pots
      • Characteristics of the irrigation water
      • Characteristics of the soil
      • Characteristics of the crops
      • Characteristics of the environment
      • Other
      • Discussion
      • Summary
    • Conclusions presented in the studies
    • Discussion
    • Summary


Part II: Clay pot irrigation in development projects around the world

    • Overview
    • History of CPI in development projects
    • Terminology
    • Projects by country
    • Experiences, problems, solutions
    • Discussion
    • Summary

Part III: The future of clay pot irrigation in research and development projects

    • Overview
    • Research gaps, key issues, and hybrid research approaches
    • Potential economical, ecological, and social impacts of clay pot irrigation in future development projects
    • Outlook

Conclusions and Recommendations