Unambiguous nomenclature for cyclopean British dam building history

Holt, Gary David (2013) Unambiguous nomenclature for cyclopean British dam building history. Dams and Reservoirs, 23 (2). pp. 78-84. ISSN 1368-1494

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1680/dare.13.00026


The term ‘cyclopean’ appears frequently among the literature associated with British dam building history, especially that component which focuses on masonry and concrete dam variants. However, the term is sometimes used in different ways to describe different concepts or – it is proffered here even more confusingly – to describe an identical concept differently. This is not to suggest that this is ‘wrong’ per se, but rather that definitive usage of the term cyclopean is hard to discern, so ambiguity is encouraged. The primary aim of this discussion therefore, is to investigate the term ‘cyclopean’: initially in broad historical terms; and subsequently, regarding nomenclature of British dam building history specifically. The product of this exercise is a proposed unambiguous timeline of British masonry and concrete dam evolution (c. 1800–2000), with commensurate nomenclature for use of the term ‘cyclopean’ within that context. The practical benefits of this include provision of a more decisive basis, upon which to describe and discuss British masonry and concrete dam building history henceforth.

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