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Journal of arid environments vol:35 issue:2 pages:341-348
Ancient stone mounds and water conduits are found on hillslopes over large areas of the Negev desert. This paper presents results from field and laboratory studies, suggesting that ancient farmers were very efficient in harvesting water. A comparison of the volume of stones in the mounds to the volume of surface stones from the surrounding areas indicates that the ancient farmers removed only stones that had rested on the soil surface and left the embedded stones untouched. According to results of simulated rainfall experiments, this selective removal increased the volume of runoff generated over one square meter by almost 250% for small rainfall events compared to natural untreated soil surfaces. (C) 1997 Academic Press Limited.