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Ancient civilisations already knew how to use the energy of running water, but it was the Western European civilisation that developed a vast network of watermills during the Middle Ages. The abundance of swift-running rivers and constant increase of crop areas in Europe were the two important factors behind the spread of watermills that eventually got involved in various technological processes, including smithing, papermaking, wood processing and groundwater regulation. In technical sense, history of Western watermills apparently developed independently from the experience of other civilisations, although the initial impulses might have arrived from elsewhere.
Šlyninkos watermill in Zarasai region
Šlyninkos watermill in Zarasai region
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

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