The Cisterns

Souriza's Valley & Michalis Mountain area -
- near Agios Konstadinos, Attiki, Greece

(Including cisterns from the Askilpiakon metallurgical workshops)

The Cisterns seen near Souriza's Valley were built about 500 BC and the waterproof lining plaster was so well formulated that most are still able to retain water 2, 500 years later as can be seen from the following photographs.

Water was vital to the ore washing process but it was in short supply up in the hot, dry hills around the Kamariza area. So it had to be collected and conserved to allow a year-round operation. This determined the design of the cisterns and washeries.

The cisterns were build to collect and store water during the rainy months, but the water had to be clean for the ore washing process. The water running down from the hillsides to the cisterns would have been muddy and dirty. So each cistern system had a smaller sedimentation or settlement tank next to it to receive the muddy water and clarify it before feeding it to the large main tank. The cisterns had to have an excellent waterproof lining to prevent leakage and many cisterns are still holding water 2,500 years after they were constructed!

The plaster for the lining has been studied by American Archaeologist-Metallurgist Martha Goodway of the Smithsonian Institute & others. Some of the plaster contains Litharge (lead oxide).

(It may also have contained finely-ground volcanic rock brought from the island of Santorini - more information when I can find it)

The cisterns must have served another purpose - to provide clean drinking water to the thousands of slaves working in the extremely hot & dry conditions that exist within the valley in the summer months.