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What is an Egyptian shaduf?

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Quick Answer

An Egyptian shaduf is a hand-operated machine that was used to lift water from a well or reservoir. It featured a large pole balanced on a crossbeam and a rope with a bucket at the end. At the other end, it had a heaving counter-weight.

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Full Answer

The shaduf was invented by the ancient Egyptians, but it is still used today in India, Egypt and other countries. The machine is easy to use, and it is estimated that it can lift up to 660 gallons of water in a day. In ancient Egypt, the water reservoirs were built using mud and bricks to hold water in place. During heavy rains, a network of canals and a shaduf were used to fill the reservoirs with water.

A shaduf played a crucial role in farming, as it was used to move water from one point to another for irrigation. This allowed the Egyptians to grow crops such as wheat and barley, even though they were in an arid desert. The bucket at the end of the rope was made from clay or an animal skin. It was capable of carrying up to approximately 5 gallons. The shaduf has been replaced with different modern methods of drawing water.

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