Piling Engineering Third Edition
The first historical reference to piling appears to be by Herodotus, the Greek writer
and traveller who is sometimes referred to as the ‘father of history’ and who lived in the
fourth century b.c. He records how a Thracian tribe, the Paeonions, lived in dwellings
erected on lofty piles driven into a lake bed. The piles were driven under some kind
of communal arrangement but after a time a law had been made that when a man
wished to marry, he had first to drive three piles. Since the tribe was polygamous,
the number of piles installed was considerable. This system provided a unique and
practical method of founding an expanding settlement.
One of the earliest uses of piling appears to have been by the Phoenicians who
used sheet piles for dock and shore constructions in connection with their expanding
sea trade. In effect the sheet piles appear to have been derived from the skill of boat
builders in the planking of ships.
The cedars of Lebanon were exported to the Egyptians who were great sailors and
builders but were without suitable timber – soon cedar wood sheet piles were used
to enable them to sink wells. Indeed the sustained demand for cedar was such that in
time the great cedar forests of the area were reduced to only small remnants.