Vinnaga salvkaevu taastamine / Reconstructing a draw well


  • Laur Oberschneider



The article gives an overview of Estonian dug wells and offers some suggestions that should be taken into account when one wishes to reconstruct a draw well. This is important when we want to protect our built heritage in its entirety.

Draw wells have been an integral part of our rural landscapes. They have played a central role in the development of settlement patterns of both farms and villages, given that the availability of pure drinking water is a prerequisite of settling anywhere. The existence of dense group villages on the harsh grounds of our islands and in northern and western Estonia has been associated with the practice of settling around a single central village well.

Reconstructing old dug wells has not previously been addressed from the heritage technological perspective in Estonian written sources. Today several standards and technologies are applied to drinking water systems, but these do not take into account sufficiently the original construction and nature of the draw wells.

The present article is based on my personal experience in reconstructing an old draw well in western Estonia which has granite lining, a crossbeam curb, and a drawbeam system for taking water from the well. I provide a step-by-step overview of the work process, and I also offer instructions in case someone else wants to embark upon a similar endeavour.

Keywords: dug wells, water supply, reconstruction, log construction, drawbeam system


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