Because of the unique set of sources available, the Fayyum in Middle Egypt offers a unique case study of large-scale irrigation from antiquity to the Islamic period. A close reading of a cadastral survey of the province from 641/1243-4 shows that the distinctive aspect of the Islamic period was the local control of water supply and management. Drawing on the engineering experience of the villagers, water allocation and management in the gravity-fed canals of the Fayyum were in the hands of iqṭāʿ holders and tribal groups along the main canals, a pattern similar to that which pertained in mediaeval al-Andalus.
KeenanJames G.BowmanAlan K.RoganEugeneFayyum Agriculture at the End of the Ayyubid Era: Nabulsi’s SurveyAgriculture in Egypt from Pharaonic to Modern Times1999OxfordOxford University Press287299Proceedings of the British Academy 96
KraemerBryanThe Meandering Identity of a Fayum Canal: The Henet of Moeris / Dioryx Kleonos / Bahr Wardan / Abdul Wahbi. Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth International Congress of Papyrology, Ann Arbor 2007American Studies in Papyrology2010365376
S. Borsch“Environment and Population: The Collapse of Large Irrigation Systems Reconsidered,”Comparative Studies in Society & History46/3 (2004): 451-68; The Black Death in Egypt and England: A Comparative Study (Austin: University of Texas Press 2005): 38.
Ibn MammātīQawānīn al-dawāwīn (Cairo: al-Jamʿiyya al-Zirāʿiyya al-Malikiyya, 1943): 229-32; translation in R. S. Cooper, “Ibn Mammati’s Rules for the Ministries,” PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley1973): 74-7.
P. ChristiansenThe Decline of Iranshahr: Irrigation and Environment in the History of the Middle East 500 B.C. to A.D. 1500 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press1993); M. Decker “Plants and Progress: Rethinking the Islamic Agricultural Revolution” Journal of World History 20/2 (2009): 187-206.
T. GlickFrom Muslim Fortress to Christian Castle: Social and Cultural Change in Medieval Spain (Manchester: Manchester University Press1995): 69-76; D. M. Varisco “Sayl and Ghayl: The Ecology of Water Allocation in Yemen” Human Ecology 11 (1983) 365-83 (esp. 378-9) reprinted in his Medieval Folk Astronomy and Agriculture in Arabia and the Yemen (London: Ashgate 1997).
Al-Maqrīzīal-Mawāʿiẓ1:670-1; see also Shafei “Lake Moeris and Lahun Mi-wer and Ro-hun: The Great Nile Control Project Executed by the Ancient Egyptians” Societé d’Égypte Bulletin 33 (1960): 187-215 esp. 210-3.