Nilometer of Khnum

Monument in Aswan

The Nilometer of the Temple of Khnum (plaque number 7) is below the southern balustrade of the temple. Built in the 26th dynasty, the Nilometer's stone stairs lead down to a small basin for measuring the Nile’s maximum level. Another stairway, with a scale etched into its wall, leads to the water from the basin’s northern end.

Heavenly portents and priestly prophecies aside, in ancient times only the Nilometer could give a real indication of the likelihood of a bountiful harvest. When the Nilometer here in the southern frontier town recorded a high water level, it meant a good harvest, which in turn meant more taxes.