Crossing the trackless desert can be a life-threatening experience, if you do not know any sources of water. The ancient Nabataeans created routes through the desert by creating their own watering sources. They would locate large rocks in the desert and harvest water from them. The rock pictured below has several water catchment system on it.

As people would pass by on camels, they would have no idea that these rocks held thousands of gallons of water.

As people would pass by on camels, they would have no idea that these rocks held thousands of gallons of water.

Small channels were cut in the rock to collect water and direct it to an open cistern, high on the rocks. Later stone walls were added, but are broken down today.

Small channels were cut in the rock to collect water and direct it to an open cistern, high on the rocks. Later stone walls were added, but are broken down today.

 Other channels were cut to catch rainwater and lead it along.

Other channels were cut to catch rainwater and lead it along.

The water channel ends at a small hole in the rock.  Below is a large bell shaped chamber under the ground that could hold thousands of gallons of water. (Traditionally a large flat rock protected the opening from debris; today Bedouin have fitted a metal plate.

The water channel ends at a small hole in the rock. Below is a large bell shaped chamber under the ground that could hold thousands of gallons of water. (Traditionally a large flat rock protected the opening from debris; today Bedouin have fitted a metal plate.

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