Nile Gauges and Nile Level Markers

by Ludwig Borchardt

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In 1906 Ludwig Borchardt published his comprehensive book Nilmesser und Nilstandsmarken (Nile Gauges and Nile Level Markers) (Berlin, Royal Academy of Sciences, 1906, 55 pp.). It contained 37 illustrations plus 5 folding plates at the rear. The photos in the book are of relatively poor quality, but the drawings are of excellent quality, and show the nilometers and measuring-quays with the greatest precision of measurement. Some of these no longer survive and, since the construction of the Aswan Dam, are now beneath Lake Nasser. And the nilometer of Philae, which does survive, has of course been moved to a different location, so that it is no longer in situ as shown in Borchardt’s book. In the interests of making all of this illustrative material available freely to all scholars, the Foundation’s copy of this book has been used to produce high resolution scans of all the illustrations, which are available in the image library below. The captions to all of the illustrations have been translated into English. A scan of the text of the entire book, including the illustrations in lower resolution, is available here as a pdf download. Further material concerning nilometers will also be added to the website from time to time.

PLATES
The Nile Quay Measure of Kubosch.
The Nile Quay Measure of Kubosch. Above, view in section. Below, ground plan of the left portion. (As it was in 1896.)
The Nile Gauge scale of Kubosch. (Photograph taken in 1896.)

The Nile Gauge scale of Kubosch. (As it was in 1896.)

The Nile Gauge scale of Taifa. (Photograph taken in 1896.)
The Nile Gauge scale of Taifa. (As it was in 1896.)
The quay wall of the city gate of Philae.
Greek inscription at the Philae gauge.
The following list gives the values in cubits (‘Ellen’ in German.)
The first group of Greek inscriptions.
The first group of Greek inscriptions.
The second group of Greek inscriptions in the Nile Gauge of Elephantine.
The second group of inscriptions.
The third group of Greek inscriptions in the Nile Gauge of Elephantine.
The third group of inscriptions (giving dates between 54 and 211 AD).
The fourth group of Greek inscriptions in the Nile Gauge of Elephantine.
[Zoomable, high resolution image]
The fourth group of inscriptions.
The fourth group of inscriptions.
The fourth group of inscriptions.
The fifth group of Greek inscriptions in the Nile Gauge of Elephantine.
The fifth group of inscriptions.
The sixth group of Greek inscriptions in the Nile Gauge of Elephantine.
The sixth group of inscriptions.
The seventh and last group of Greek inscriptions at Elephantine.
A Greek inscription at El Hosh.
A Greek inscription at El Hosh.
The Nile Gauge of Edfu. Left, the western half, right the eastern half of the well.
The Nile Gauge of Edfu. Above, a west-east section. Below, ground plan.
The Nile Gauge scale of Edfu, depicted here in an unrolled and flattened view.
The Nile Gauge of Esna.
The Nile Gauge of Esna.
The Nile Gauge of Esna. Above, the north wall, below the ground plan.
The Nile Gauge of Luxor as seen from the east.
The Nile Gauge of Luxor seen from the southeast.
The Nile Gauge at Luxor. Above, the scale and the south wall, below the ground plan. (As it was in 1906.)
Approximate Nile heights at Rodah in the various epochs.
Collation of the Nile heights of various epochs with the reconstructed Nile Gauge at Rodah.
The Great Nile Gauge of Philae. Above, the north wall; below, the ground plan.
The Great Nile Gauge of Philae. The south wall.
The Nile Gauge of Elephantine. Above, the west wall; below at left, the north wall.
Collation of Nile gauges. Section through the Nile from Karnak to ‘Kubosch’ [Qbosh].
Collation of the data concerning the Nile heights. Section through the Nile from the Mediterranean to the First Cataract.
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