Old Holes

Ancient holes exist beneath our radar. Often referred to as “digs” or “sites” , we tend to ponder them as novels rather than chapters or pages. For now lets just call them holes – I don’t care if the story makes sense or chapters flow sensibly – take a look at some very old “holes”.

Constructed around 800 AD, Chand Baori in India is a spectacular old hole. This Stepwell ( a well behaving more like a pond – water reached by descending steps) has 3,500 steps sloping 100 feet to the bottom. In monsoon season, the well fills almost to capacity.


Derinkuyu in Turkey may not be a hole in the traditional sense, but any civilization that digs a 13 level, over 100 foot deep underground structure able to house 20,000 people, makes my list of old holes. Attributed to the Phrygians around 800 BC, each level could be secured behind rolling stone doors from inside the structure. Sophisticated ventilation kept fresh air flowing to deepest corners, and a tunnel almost 5 miles long connected it to the underground city of Kaymakli.

Qanat Firaun is below ground and excavated by hand – I see no reason not to consider it an old hole. Credited as the worlds longest ancient underground aqueduct, it runs for over 100 miles beneath present day Jordan and Syria. Work began around 80 AD to supply water to the Roman frontier known as Decapolis – capital city Gadara was home to an estimated 50,000 people. Also called the Gadara Aqueduct – so much water funneled beneath the desert, thousands of fountains and baths gave ancient Gadara a staggering daily water consumption of 500 litres per capita. I call that a remarkable old hole.

3 thoughts on “Old Holes

  1. This hole theme made me think of something i wrote years ago.

    Dona: Aware of it? Bit hard to ignore it. Is your head screwed on right? Tad hard to ignore a naked elf taking a bath in your teapot now, isn’t it. They’ve been here since times beginning. Mostly harmless.

    Grim: Harmless?

    Dona: Mostly. Well, there was that one incident with my Great uncle Neil.

    Grim: Uncle Neil?

    Dona: Great uncle, yes. Quite a nasty episode, come to think about it.

    Grim: Episode?

    Dona: They sacrificed him, didn’t they.

    Grim: What?

    Dona: Sacrifice. They caught him, carried him underground, then cut him up into little pieces. Dumped him back up here like some butchers delivery service for the next week. Piece by little piece. Like little presents. Presents, or warnings? Not sure what?

    Grim: Why?

    Dona: Oh, I don’t know. That was a long time ago. Something about disturbing the Lords of the Underworld. Great uncle Neil was a hole digger, you see.

    Grim: A “hole digger”? No, I don’t see.

    Dona: Are you daft, lad? He dug holes. He dug a lot of holes. Holes here, holes there. Some deep, some shallow. He dug holes.

    Grim: Why?

    Dona: Nobody ever really knew. That, or they just didn’t like talking about it. But, dig he did. Dawn to dusk. Sometimes he’d dig right through the night. Hole after hole. One after the other. Some in rows, others just haphazardly arranged about. He dug holes.

    Grim: And?

    Dona: Well, clearly it upset some Lord of the Underworld. So, they had him sacrificed. Why are you asking about….? Oh my word? Dr Grims hole outside? Have they taken him?

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