The Challenge -  
 
 

The farming year

Farmers in ancient Sumer grew imported crops like barley in a land without much rainfall and with a limited water supply. One of the ways that they were able to do this was through developing a system for controlling the flow and direction of water from the river.

Canals and irrigation ditches were built for redirecting the water to the fields used for farming. Regulators were then used to raise and lower the water levels in the canals and ditches so the water could be used by the farmers.

During the growing season, each farmer was allowed only a certain amount of water. When it was a farmer's turn to water his fields the regulator was adjusted so that water ran from the canal into an irrigation ditch which ran alongside the farmer's fields. The farmer could then water his fields.

You are the eldest son in a family of farmers. Your father has gone away for a year and left you in charge of the family's three fields.

Below you will see your three fields and a list of activities you and your brothers could perform. Remember, you must try to farm all of your fields at once to get the greatest harvest. At different times of the year, you will see the local water controller direct water to the irrigation ditch next to your field. You can let water into your fields by clicking on the 'water' button. If you miss this opportunity, you will have to wait until his next visit. Good luck.

 

 
 

Flood- Before you can work the soil, you must flood your field with water from the irrigation ditch.

Plough- After the field has been flooded, you must run the plough through the field to break up the soil.

Harrow- After the large chunks of dirt have been broken up by the plough, you must run the harrow through the field to make the field smooth and level.

Sow- After the ground has been ploughed and harrowed, you must drop seeds into the ground using the seeder-plough.

Water- You must water your field three times after it has been sown.

Harvest- When the crops are ripe, you must cut the barley, gather it together and take it to the threshing house.