ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION / NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION / NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nilometer in Egypt. Ancient Egypt. The central column is labelled in cubits to show the height of the water during the annual flood (up to around 10 metres). Many buildings were built in Egypt over the centuries to measure the rise and fall of the Nile. These measurements were vital for planning the farming that depended on the annual flood. A good year would be a flood of 16 cubits. Less would mark a drought, and more would be destructive flood. Artwork from the three-volume work 'Oedipus Aegyptiacus' (1652-54) by German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (circa 1601-1680).
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