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In a medieval setting, which methods of fighting a rising sea level exist apart from building barriers? The idea is that a civilization has to fight the flood just long enough to finish their ark.

The civilization has access to iron, coal, stone and wood but is not limited just to those four. Maybe some little magic is possible. The water can come from just one side but it is also be possible that a villiage is located on an island and has to fight the water from all directions. The villiage is always located on the coast and moving into higher altitudes is not possible dua to the speed of the rising sea level.

Edit:

The reason for the flood is unknown so therfore it cannot be prevented by religion or something like that. The ark is used to save the civilization and to get to a save place when the flood is over or maxed out.

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    $\begingroup$ This whole 'ark' thing isn't a trick to get rid of the telephone sanitizers, account executives, hairdressers, TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, and management consultants, right? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Sep 11 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ I have to admit that the word biblical was probably a bad choice but it was a short succinct word which saved me a lot of explanation. The reason for the flood is unknown so therfore it cannot be prevented by religion or something like that. The ark is used to save the civilization and to get to a save place when the flood is over. $\endgroup$ – Gistiv Sep 11 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Gistiv It probably would have been better to say "a global flood or something that would seem global to them". But I think we get the point. $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 11 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Gistiv If we are to assume that the flood was known about in advance (else why build an ark) why would they not build it on higher-ground with a launch ramp? This all seems not-well-defined and therefore opinion-based. When you say "maybe some little magic is possible", unless you tell us what you are allowing and disallowing in your world, why would "The ark and materials and town was all levitated out the way" not be a valid answer? Maybe it is. Please edit your question to provide some clarity as to what it is that you want to know. $\endgroup$ – We are Monica. Sep 11 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ If the causes of the flooding are not known, how the hell they know it is coming, and it will be as massive as needing an ark to save their whole civilization. And how much time they have, or they think they have? $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Sep 12 at 11:30
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Digging holes

More specifically, channels. Give the water somewhere to run that isn’t where your ark is. Piling the earth up as extra barriers (not to resist the water but to force it into other channels) is an excellent idea.

If your ark is on a slope then digging channels so the water rushes around it and down the hill will buy you time until the water level rises. Not a permanent measure, but it helps you survive.

This tactic is used all the time in flood management in times of great rainfall. Channels are opened up and used to selectively flood areas where the water will cause less damage, thus giving the more important areas (your ark) longer until they are overwhelmed.

Just try not to flood anything you need before you don’t need it any more.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't see channels working any better than barriers. Against an ocean's worth of water, any channel they could build would be nothing. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Sep 11 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ This could work for a small flood, but if we're assuming a flood that covers the world or as much of the world as these people can reach, I'd think any channels you dig would simply overflow. $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 11 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Shadocat: the same is true of all defences bar building... well, an ark. The channels merely give you an extra few hours or days to complete the job while the water is diverted elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 11 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Jay: depends on how quickly the flood comes in. If it’s a flood due to, say, 40 days and nights of rain: you can assume that as long as your channels can divert the initial volume of water they’ll be good until they collapse or the reservoir you’re diverting to floods up to your level. If the ark is on a slope above a floodplain you could buy yourself days in a 40 days and nights style flood. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 11 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs Alright, fair enough. I guess the question is, How much water do you have to be able to deal with? If the answer is "1 inch", then a solution is "wear boots". If the answer is "2000 feet", it's probably hopeless. In the middle I suppose there are a number of possibilities. $\endgroup$ – Jay Sep 11 at 21:07
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If you rule out barriers (which the Dutch have been using for a very long time), the only thing you can do is go up.

You can float it (as @JRodge01 said) or jack things up on stilts. Though both of those would take much more work and time than a barrier.

By the time you build something big enough to float the ark while it's being constructed, you've built the ark.

The effort of jacking things up (town, construction site, etc.) would also border on the ridiculous.

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    $\begingroup$ Bottom line - find a higher ground for the ark's construction site. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Sep 11 at 20:39
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A village on an island presumably has boats or other sort of sea-faring devices. Perhaps some sort of floating construction platform that isn't sustainable long-term, but able to be sustained long enough for construction to finish.

For the coastal village you could have walls that angle the water elsewhere as a stalling tactic until the water goes over the wall. Very old civilizations use qanats as a way to bring water from one place to another. I'd assume that this could also be used as a way to divert flood water.

Channals or trenches to divert water to the other side of a walled village, or utilizing local ravines and valleys to carry off water would also provide time.

That said, unless major foresight existed prior to the beginning of the ark's construction, I don't believe there'd be any solution that would buy more time than contributing to the are.

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Cave.

cave

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/biggest-longest-five-amazing-caves-visit-180952892/ Your people move the ark into the cave. As the shipwrights work, stonemasons wall off the entrance. The stonemasons were relegated to making sandwiches and giving backrubs during the ark project, and are happy to be back to work making things out of stone.

When the ark is done they break the wall and the water rushes in. The ark is lifted up to the entrance and leaves.

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  • $\begingroup$ Better still, a cave that starts low and travels up; it will form a natural moonpool when it floods and the upper levels of the cave will stay dry. Probably won't be big enough to build an ark though, and you'll want a snorkel from the top of the cave to the top of the floodwater. $\endgroup$ – Logan Pickup Sep 12 at 2:05
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    $\begingroup$ @LoganPickup: if you put in a simple snorkel all the air would be pushed to the surface and you’d drown. You'd need an air compressor, and a good one at that. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 12 at 10:22
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I would think that building a wall to hold back the water would be more work than finishing the ark. The wall would have to be at least as big as the ark.

You could build a floating dock for your ark, but again, that's probably more work than finishing the ark.

I presume if the society is medieval we're ruling out aircraft or traveling to the Moon.

I'm hard pressed to think of what you could do that would be faster or easier than finishing the ark.

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