Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Use for Earthen Construction

Yakhchal; ancient earthen refrigerator
In my search for information about adobe structures around the world, I came across some fascinating information about ancient "refrigerators" in Persia (now Iraq) called "yakhchal." They were being built by 400 B.C. and were used to store food and ice during the blazing desert heat of summer. Circular structures made of mud brick, they often rose as much as 60 feet above a massive interior ice pit. They were arranged so that cooling breezes entered them, and had an exterior groove to allow a continuous trickle of water to spiral down the outside walls, cooling the interior even further.

There was a trench around the bottom to capture any meltwater from the ice. This water would freeze during the cold desert nights, then was broken up and transported back down into the ice pits.

For more photos, information, and diagrams of yakhchals, see Yakhchal: Ancient Refrigerators.

The adobe walls of our adobe house--our own earthen structure--keep out the desert heat, too


JC said...

That's just too cool ...
(it is but I had to say it ...)

Brenda's Arizona said...

Wow, I have never seen beehive structures like this! Funny, the more things change, the more they remain the same... Thanks for the geography/history lesson!

Webster said...

JC beat me to it! Very funny.

I think you are having fun with your research. Knowing so much about adobe, and its uses around the world, will make your new home much more meaningful. It won't be just another new (to you) house.