Title Water clock (Amenhotep III)
Water Clock ID WCO 1 (see catalogue of water clocks)
Type Astronomical Representation
Decan List Family AR1
EAT3 Number and Name 3 Amenhotep III
EAT3 Pages and Plates 12-14, Pl 2 (four views)
EAT3 Decan List Family Senmut

Daressy (1915); Sloley (1924); Sloley (1931); Pogo (1936); Chatley (1940); Balmer (1982); Fermor et al. (1983); Cotterell et al. (1986); Mills & Symons (2000)


Found in Karnak

Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo; on display room P49

JE 37525; SR 7/19741 and SR 1/10670

Date 18th dynasty, time of Amenhotep III
Registers 3
Circumpolar Group and Deities Yes

Superior:  Jupiter, Saturn (Mars is omitted)

Inferior:  Mercury, Venus

Decan Names Yes
Decanal Stars Yes
Personifications of the Decans No
Cluster Numbers Yes
Depictions of Decanal Constellations Yes
Decanal Deity Names Yes
Decanal Deity Figures No
Lunar Months Yes: 12 figures labelled with the names of the lunar months, with King offering
Civil Months Yes: around the rim of the vessel, labelling the twelve columns if hour marks on the interior surface by season and month.
Nut No
Other features

The length of the hour scales during the civil year makes it clear that this water clock was designed to be used during the hours of the night. The spout of the water clock is now missing, but would originally have been situated below a figure of a baboon sitting on a djed-pillar.

Unique to this water clock is a large vignette on the exterior wall, opposite the area where the spout would have once existed. Within this scene, Amenhotep III is shown offering towards the sun god Re-Horakhty, while the moon god Thoth is pictured behind these two figures.


This is the earliest surviving ancient Egyptian outflow water clock.  It was found in 1906, in pieces.


03Waterclock AmenhotepIII  schematic

Legend for Schematic
C Circumpolar group of constellations
A Circumpolar attendant deities
D Decans
P Planets

Civil months (labels around the rim)

Lunar months (figures and labels)


Other cosmic deities: 

The king offering to the Sun and Moon (upper registers) and baboon on a djed-pillar (lower register)

 Hippo symbol

Location and orientation of the circumpolar hippo

 Human symbol 

Indicates the starting point and directionality of list or procession of figures

Decan List

The list gives an approximate layout for how the decans, deities, cluster labels (x-nwt Xt), and decanal figures (in bold) are arranged.  However, the only way of perceiving the complete layout and orthography of the labels is by consulting photographs, drawings, or the original.  For conventions and abbreviations, see below the table.

The decan list is very similar to that in the Tomb of Senenmut with no major depatures in decan names or deities.

tpy-a knm<t> Hapy, Imseti       
3 Xry xpd knmt, 2 knmt Isis
4 HA<t> DAt, 5 pH<wy> DAt Duamutef, Children of Horus
6 TmAt Hrt, 7 TmAt Xrt Duamutef
8 wSAti, 9 bkAti Duamutef, Hapy
10 tpy-a xntt, 11 <xntt> Hrt Horus
12 xntt Xrt Seth Boat
13 Tms n xntt Horus
14 sApti xnwy Isis, Nephthys
15 Hry-ib <wiA> Seth
17 knm<w> Children of Horus
18 tpy-a smd Horus  
19 smd Hapy Sheep
20 sit Isis, 3-nwt Xt
21 sAwy sit Duamutef     

22 Xry xpd srt Kebehsenuf
23 tpy-a Ax<wy> Duamutef
24 Axw<y> Duamutef, Kebehsenuf
25 bAw<y> Hapy, Imseti, 4-nwt Xt
26 xntw Hr<w>, 27 Xrw Children of Horus
28 qd, 29 sAwy qd Hapy, Kebeh<senuf>
30 xAw Children of Horus, <5>-nwt Xt
31 art Eye of Horus
32 Hry rmn sAH Children of Horus
36 spdt Isis Sopdet
SP1 Hr-tAS-tAwy rn=f rsy pt sbA Planet (with Figure of King)
SP2 Hr-kA-pt DA pt iAbty sbA Planet (with Figure of King)
Stwy   Turtles
B <n>srw Imseti, Xt <-pw>      
sSpt Eyes of Horus
E abSs Horus, D hpds
F <nTr> wAS Duamutef
IP1 sbg Horus
IP2 DA baH
Osiris Benu

The decan numbers and letters shown here are for the decan family AR1

SP = superior planet

IP = inferior planet

Grey shading = damage

< > = omitted but understood

( ) = explanatory notes or additional material

The number of star symbols accompanying the decans is also omitted here, as it is often impossible to tell to which decan the symbols refer.  EAT3 deals with star symbols in some detail.