A shadoof or shaduf (an Arabic word, شادوف, šādūf; also anciently known by the Greek name κήλων or κηλώνειον, kēlōn or kēlōneion) is an irrigation tool. A less common English translation is swape and commonly called a well pole, well sweep or simply a sweep in the United States.
The shadoof was an early tool used by Mesopotamian and Nile River peoples to draw water, essentially using a bucket attached to a lever with a fulcrum fixed in the ground. It is still used in many areas of Africa and Asia to draw water.
The shadoof consists of an upright frame on which is suspended a long pole or branch, at a distance of about one-fifth of its length from one end. At the long end of this pole hangs a bucket, skin bag, or bitumen-coated reed basket. The bucket can be made in many different styles, sometimes having an uneven base or a part at the top of the skin that can be untied. This allows the water to be immediately distributed rather than manually emptied. The short end carries a weight (clay, stone, or similar) which serves as the counterpoise of a lever. When correctly balanced, the counterweight will support a half-filled bucket, so some effort is used to pull an empty bucket down to the water, but only the same effort is needed to lift a full bucket.
With an almost effortless swinging and lifting motion, the waterproof vessel is used to scoop up and carry water from one body of water (typically, a river or pond) to another. At the end of each movement, the water is emptied out into runnels that convey the water along irrigation ditches in the required direction.
- "ASABE technical paper describing alternative names". Asae.frymulti.com. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- "Definition of "Swape"". Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA Inc. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- Knight, Edward Henry. Knight's American mechanical dictionary. Vol. 3. New York, Hurd and Houghton: Riverside Press, 1877. 2,468. Print.
- John Roberts (historian), edited by Allen Lane (2013). The Penguin History of the World. Penguin Books.
- Hortobágy National Park
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