Human has always been seeking to meet his needs and commensurate with his environmental capabilities. The idea of taking the advantage of these potentials reflects the human culture of adapting to environmental conditions and maximum use of them for creation of various architectural works. Water availability and its usage could be regarded as one of the factors influencing the sustainability of the civilizations. Optimal use of water in the old water networks and the other associated installations indicates the sufficient knowledge of their creators about the principles and science of water. The mill has been one of the vital structures whose existence was essential for human survival as it has been a valuable factor for better regulation of food system during different stages of life. Mill is one of the oldest industrial achievements of mankind having a long history in human life. Based on some Islamic narratives, Adam was the first one who learnt how to build and use mill stones. "For the first time Gabriel instructed Adam to build the mill under the mountain rock and ordered him to grind the wheat" Tabari wrote. Investigating the architectural structure and discovering the hidden socio-economic layers and functions of Iranchr('39')s water mills are of great importance in Iranian cultural and civilization studies owing to their direct connection to peoplechr('39')s livelihood. Water mill is one of the different types of Iranian architecture which has a direct relationship with the social and economic life of past inhabitants of this land especially the villagers. Darreh Shahr city is one of the areas in Ilam province possessing surface water resources which cover most of its villages due to its location on the slopes of Kabir Kuh and flowing seasonal and permanent rivers in it. The old inhabitants of these villages have rightly recognized the enormous potential of these surface waters and taken their advantages to meet their economic need, supplying wheat or barley flour. In this research, as a result of archaeological studies and identification, 14 water mills scattered in the villages of Darreh Shahr city have been identified and studied with the aim of documenting and gaining a true understanding of their architectural structures, social and economic aspects. Accordingly, for obtaining the purpose of the study, the research questions are specified in this way: 1) What are the architecture and components of Darreh Shahr’s water mills? 2) Among the mills that are known in Iran, what kind of water-mills are those located in Darreh Shahr? 3) How and by whom were the water mills been managed? and 4) What factors or environmental factors influenced the dispersion pattern of water mills in this city? The results show that the water mills in the city of Darreh Shahr are of the type of headrace mills whose distribution pattern is directly dependent on the rivers rout originating from Kabir Kuh Mountain and the past residents of the city have used part of those rivers through channel to turn the mill wheel. The structure of these mills is comprised of Tanoreh (headrace),Tavarah, Beleskah, Mazgio, Parah Parah, KouinahMikh, SangMirah, Kho, Chaghchaghah, Sarsoil, Sardoulalo, StonMill, Zhersho, rest place. The management and supervision of these mills, some of which were owned by rich people of the villages, were entrusted to persons named Awsta Asiaw, Lovinah, and Meyshah Konah, respectively. A full day milling activity to provide Awsta Asiaw’s wage, receiving 3 kg out of 60 or 30 kg of product imported to the mills by Lovinah, taking 1 bowl to 3 kg of flour out of the wheat milled by the Meyshah Konah and renting these mills for 1500 kg wheat or barley are some examples of the economic relationships underlying the architectural structure of the citychr('39')s water mills. This study was done through descriptive-analytical method and information collecting was based on the field and library studies.
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