Surveys of relic canals at the Oasis of Otrar in Kazakhstan have been used to re-construct patterns of agricultural water use for irrigation between AD700 and AD1500. Hydraulic simulation software was used to calculate the water carrying capacity of historical irrigation canal networks. An analysis of modern day irrigation systems has enabled the calibration of crop water use models and an estimate of the effectiveness of the ancient irrigation canals was made. The hydraulic models show that significant organisation of the management of the canals was necessary to ensure correct delivery of water to the farms.
Keywords: archaeology, Central Asia, hydraulics, irrigation