Monday, March 20, 2023

History of ancient silo pit

A silo (from the Greek siros, “pit for holding grain”) is a structure for storing bulk materials. Modern silos are commonly used for bulk storage of grain and other materials. Silos for the storage of grain have been an essential aspect of all agricultural communities throughout the ages. Harvested crops need to be kept for at least a year until the next harvest.

The climate of Egypt being very dry, grain could be stored in pits for a long time without sensible loss of quality. The silo pit, as it has been termed, has been a favorite way of storing grain from time immemorial in all oriental lands. In Turkey and Persia usurers used to buy up wheat or barley when comparatively cheap, and store it in hidden pits against seasons of dearth.

In France and Spain, and other parts of Europe, grain was preserved in trenches, dug in the ground, at the time of Pliny, who mentions in certain of his writings that "the best plan of preserving grain is to lay it up in trenches dug in a dry soil, called siri, as they do in Cappadocia, Thracia, Spain, and in Africa."

The Egyptian silos were evidently of a more improved and permanent nature than the rude trenches above. In Egypt, the harvesting season (March to May) was when crops were harvested and seeds were collected for the next year’s planting. During this time, grain was stored in large silos and farmers prepared their canals and levees for the next flood.

The administrative building and silos were at the heart of the ancient community. Because grain was a form of currency, the silos functioned as a bank and a food source. The silos' size indicates the community was apparently a prosperous urban center.

Grain storage is an old technology in the Nubian region (encompasses parts of southern Egypt and northern Sudan) and can be simply classified into three categories: rooms, holes and jars. Underground holes may be small pits or a large hole with walls that are sometimes supported by bricks, stones or are solidified by burring the walls of the hole. Other food storage pits from the Neolithic (6000- 4000 BC) were discovered in the Tkulainos site in eastern Sudan.

Underground silos are generally considered to have functioned as containers for storing plant products, particularly cereals, and they are most often characterized by their shape and volume. Traditionally, their morphology is determined by a combination of factors, and has been linked to their underlying geology and the product intended for storage.

Small-scale storage evolved to more sophisticated grain storage bins. These bins kept the crop safe from the elements and elevated from the ground. Over time, innovations have further improved grain bin efficiency, with features like perforated floors for retrofitting existing crop storage to new ones, moisture and temperature control mechanisms and varying bin depths.

The first modern silo, a wooden one, was invented and built in 1873 by Fred Hatch in McHenry County, Illinois. He did it after trying to figure out how to store grain at his family farm while also combating grain spoilage.
History of ancient silo pit