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History of Gabions

Jun. 13, 2022

If you still can't consider using gabions, consider using mesh wire or netting. It is filled with small holes that almost look like a cage. The mesh is then made into blocks or cylinders and filled with rocks or filled with dirt. That's a gabion mesh, and they've been part of the works since the 14th century.


History of gabions

The earliest known gabions are ancient gabions built by the Egyptians about 7,000 years ago on the Nile to protect the river banks; since then they have been refined and turned into one of the most common engineering tools. Most gabions remain around rivers and oceans, serving as walls, dams, and protectors against erosion.


They were also used in buildings, such as in California's Napa Valley, where the Dominus Winery estate used several gabions connected by wire mesh to allow more efficient and natural airflow into the building.

Gabion Basket

 Gabion Basket  


Bronze Age gabions

When the Nile River flooded every year, it was a time of rejoicing for the Egyptian people. The gods blessed them with another year of fertile farmland and bountiful crops. It was when the river flooded outside of the harvest season that the problem arose.


If crops and houses were on the Nile, then they were either destroyed by the floods or over time by the erosion away of the river banks. To solve this problem, the Egyptians would fill wicker and reed baskets with stones and place them on the riverbanks.


This was the first recorded incidence of gabions being used to prevent runaway riverbank erosion, and it worked. For the exact same purpose, we are still using newer and modern gabions!

Gabion Basket

Gabion Basket      

Military Gabions

Military forces around the world have also taken notice of gabion baskets, especially in terms of their ease of use and portability. They were (and still are) building fortifications that are inexpensive and easy to maintain and move. Most military gabions were made of wicker and filled with clay to make an early version of sandbags.


These defensive gabions worked in the same way as today's bulletproof undershirts. They would be stuffed with stones and dirt so that when a bullet or arrow hit them, the force of the weapon would not be able to pass through the gabions. They were used in the Middle Ages as an easy-to-set-up siege project and were still used in the American Civil War.


They were placed around artillery to protect gunners from artillery fire and snipers to great effect. If the battle ended early or the guns needed to be moved, the gabions could be picked up and moved with the army. Gabions would also be used permanently for fortifications with cannons.


Today, armies still use modern versions of gabions as mobile defenses. These gabions are often used to protect soldiers from explosions and artillery fire, and to protect large numbers of soldiers who would otherwise be vulnerable to attack.


The army is taking large cloth baskets and covering them with netting. They fill the gabion baskets with earth and sand, allowing these modern gabions to serve not only as walls but also as walls for fortifications and buildings.


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