A nilometer was a device used by the ancient Egyptians to assess the water level of the Nile River during its yearly flood and hence estimate harvest success and calculate the tax rate for the year. The nilometer was a horizontal board with vertical posts at each end. On top of the posts were ropes with buckets attached to them. When the river was at its highest level, the buckets would be full. As the flood receded, the weight of the buckets would pull the ropes down, which in turn would lower the boards until they reached their lowest point. At this point, the amount of water in the buckets represented one-tenth of the total volume of the Nile River.
Scientists believe that an environment similar to Earth's may have arisen on Mars through volcanic activity and meteorite impacts. If so, it is possible that life could have evolved there. Studies of Mars' geology help scientists understand how and when life might have emerged on other planets.
The objective of rugby is the same as in American football: to advance the ball into the opposition's end zone, called the try zone.
The nilometer, which was most likely built in the third century B.C., was used for almost a thousand years to determine the water level of the Nile during its yearly flooding. The word "nilometer" is derived from the Greek word for "water clock."
In addition to being used as an instrument for measuring time, the nilometer also served as a form of public communication. When the water level of the Nile was low, messages would be sent to cities along its banks using torches attached to poles set into the riverbed. If the message was warning them that the river was dangerously low, then those cities would have time to prepare themselves for the coming flood.
After Egypt's conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., his generals used the nilometer to warn each other when they wanted to attack someone. The idea probably came from ancient times when kings and princes sent letters with messengers traveling fast horses to let people know that there was going to be a change in leadership. So, the creation of the nilometer was very important because it helped farmers grow crops year round and also provided for the safety of citizens during times of war.
The nilometer was used to forecast harvest (and taxes) based on the Nile River's rise and fall. Archaeologists from the United States and Egypt have unearthed a nilometer among the ruins of the ancient city of Thmuis in Egypt's Delta area. The device, which may be as old as 3,000 years old, was made up of two counterweights on a pivoting arm attached to a rod that extended down into the mud of the riverbank. As the water level changed due to rain or snowmelt, the weights would swing back and forth, registering the change on a dial. By measuring several swings, an accurate estimate could be made of how much water was flowing over the weir at Thmuis.
Why is it important for scientists to know about the weather here on Earth thousands of years ago? Because we need to understand ancient environments and reconstruct past events such as volcanic eruptions, droughts, and floods to learn more about our own climate today. The nilometer provides evidence of a direct correlation between the flooding of the Nile and the growth of Egypt's agricultural industry. Since agriculture is one of the most energy-intensive processes known to man, this proves that proper management of irrigation can have significant environmental benefits.
Where in Egypt might one find a nilometer? Nilometers are still used today to measure the flow of the Nile for purposes of irrigation allocation.
The flooding of the Nile was predictable enough in ancient Egypt for the Egyptians to arrange their yearly crops around it. It floods every year between June and September as a result of monsoon rains in Ethiopia. Famine occurred when there was insufficient or excessive floods. The ancient Egyptians counted on a sufficient flood to ensure a good harvest.
The flooding of the Nile has been predicted since at least 300 B.C., when Greek scholars noted that the flood came late. This led some philosophers of this time to believe that the Nile did not actually rise until it was too high, which would make its flooding unpredictable. However, others pointed out that the flood lasted for such a short time that it could be considered constant.
In A.D. 1, the Roman emperor Augustus wrote a book on agriculture in which he mentioned that the Egyptian Nile flooded itself each year. He also said that it was dangerous to stand on one's land during a flood because you might be washed away- something we can understand today when you think about how high the water is likely to get before receding again!
Augustus also described how the Egyptians used the flooding of the river to their advantage by planting their crops according to season. In the springtime, they planted wheat and barley; in the summer, tomatoes, melons, and peppers; and in the fall, beans and peas.