In ancient Egypt, a unit of capacity, about 0.48 liter (about 1 U.S. fluid pint). opens a new page containing a chart that shows relationships between this unit and other units in its system

The hnw is the ancestral unit of many others, including the El-Amarna qina, the Ugaritic hn, the Egyptian Aramaic hyn, and the biblical Hebrew hîn. Many of these are much larger units.


In addition to other documents, the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, a hieratic manuscript that is dated internally to the 33rd year of the Hyksos king Apophis (Awserre)—thus ca. 1550 BCE, during the Second Intermediate Period—indicates in a section that deals with divisions and measurements of grain (not liquid!) that a hnw is 1/10 of a ḥḳ3t, and since the metric equivalent of a ḥḳ3t is ca. 4.8 litres, a hnw would be ca. 0.48 litres (Rossi 2007: 61 and Table 2). For a comprehensive study of the hnw, see Pommerening 2005: 195–223. Her discussion of the New Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (idem: 203–205), the part of Egyptian history that surrounds the LB II and early Iron I at Tel Beth-Shemesh, shows that the hnw was the standard of measurement at this time in Egypt and that its value was 473 cm³ or 0.473 litres.

P. Kyle McCarter, Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman.
An Archaic Baʿl Inscription from Tel Beth-Shemesh.
Tel Aviv, vol. 38, pages 179–193 (2011).
doi 10.1179/033443511x13099584885385
Footnote 9, page 187. Their references are to:

Tanja Pommerening.
Die altägyptischen Hohlmaße.
(Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur, Beiheft 10).
Hamburg: Helmut Buske, 2005.

Corinna Rossi.
Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt.
Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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