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Timekeeping

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Measuring Time in Ancient Egypt

Article

Glossary

alabaster

a variety of hard calcite that is translucent and sometimes banded.

register

section of a scene or inscription represented on the walls of temples, tombs or stelae in Ancient Egypt

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Water Clock
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This alabaster water clock of King Amenhotep the Third has 12 carved columns of 11 false holes, corresponding to the hours of the night.

The water flowed through a very small hole made in the center of the bottom, emerging on the outside under the figure of a seated baboon. To know the time, one had to look inside the basin to observe the water level and read the time according to the nearest false hole.

The outside surface of this clepsydra, or water clock, is decorated with figures and text that show symbols of certain planets and constellations and give a list of the protective spirits for each of the ten days of the ancient Egyptian week.

The middle register, or section, is occupied by the circumpolar stars under the aspects of various gods and animals.

Dimensions:  Height 95 cm  Diameter 48.5 cm

Attributes Attributes

Culture:

Pharaonic

Technique:

Relief
  Hewn

Style:

New Kingdom

Materials:

Limestone
  Calcite-Alabaster
Type Type

Type:

Measuring Equipment
Map Map

Location: 

Egyptian Museum

Created: 

Karnak Cache
Timeline Timeline

Created: 

1479 BC - 1425 BC

Acquired: 

1904 AD
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Karnak Temple
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