The Nile River cuts its way through the deserts of Egypt. During the
yearly floods the rich black soil, or kemet, was left behind. The Egyptians
used the fertile soil to grow their fields of wheat and barley. Once the
floods receded and the fields dried, the plants would wither and die. The
Egyptians solved this problem by digging canals. Water that poured into
these canals flowed out the fields irrigating the land.
A shaduf is an ancient water-raising device used by early Egyptians.
It consists of a container made of animal skins or clay attached to a lever
counterbalanced by stones. The container is dipped into the river, when
full it is lifted out and dumped into a canal.
It takes about twenty liters of water to irrigate one square meter of
land for one day. How much water is required to irrigate a 500 square meter
The shaduf by the museum can hold 20 liters of water. Using that
information, how many times does it have to be worked to irrigate the field