Build a Shaduf Parshat VayiGash



Shaduf, also spelled Shadoof, hand-operated device for lifting water, invented in ancient times and still used in India, Egypt, and some other countries to irrigate land. Typically it consists of a long, tapering, nearly horizontal pole mounted like a seesaw. A skin or bucket is hung on a rope from the long end, and a counterweight is hung on the short end. The operator pulls down on a rope attached to the long end to fill the bucket and allows the counterweight to raise the bucket. To raise water to higher levels, a series of shadufs are sometimes mounted one above the other. In India the device is called a denkli, or paecottah.

We made tripods as the fulcrum
Adding 'water' to the 'Nile' using water beads
Our irrigation system is now in place. The buckets of 'water' are poured down the canals to irrigate the crops.

Some hieroglyphics in Egyptian tombs show people using the shaduf. From hieroglyphics, (writing in pictures), archaeologists and historians have learned a lot about daily life in Ancient Egypt.

The Egyptians built reservoirs made from bricks and mud to hold water. During floods, a connecting network of canals filled with water and the shaduf was used to refill the reservoirs.

In Ancient Egypt, the River Nile flooded every June. As well as moving the water with shadufs, the Egyptians went fishing and mended their tools during this time.

The shaduf was used to lift water from one place to another to irrigate crops. Despite the arid desert, the Ancient Egyptians grew barley, wheat and other crops.

The typical shaduf was able to hold 20 litres of water. The container part of the device was usually made from animal skins or clay.

Nobody knows for sure how the Ancient Egyptians built the huge pyramids. They may have used a massive versions of the shaduf to lift the stone blocks, weighing up to 15 tonnes.

The SHADUF project began in 2004 to study ancient irrigation techniques. The project attempted to focus attention on different ways of collecting water and irrigating in the Mediterranean area.

We used cups filled with the right amount of coins as our counterweight
Nile monitor vs croc!

The Nile monitor is a large member of the monitor lizard family found throughout much of Africa but absent from the west where it is replaced by Varanus stellatus. Wikipedia


A nilometer was a structure for measuring the Nile River's clarity and water level during the annual flood season. It was a step-like structure that measured how high the flood would be.

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