Ancient Egyptian Altitude Sundial, or Shadow Clock, in pine (wood)

Made:
1000-800 BCE in Qus and Egypt

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London

Primitive time measuring device consisting of wooden board with horizontal wooden gnomen or 'goal posts', the position of the shadow cast by this traverse piece indicates the passage of time, Unsigned, Egypt, 1000-800 BCE

This primitive altitude sundial is of a type which was still in use in Egypt during the first quarter of the 20th century although it operates on the same principle as the Egyptian shadow clocks of almost three millennia earlier. The horizontal bar on top of the two uprights is turned to face the sun so that it casts a shadow on the base which is marked to indicate equal units of time. It was used to time various tasks such as the work of labourers or the flow of water in irrigation.

Details

Category:
Time Measurement
Object Number:
1926-992
Materials:
pine (wood) and steel (metal)
type:
sundial
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument
  • timepiece
credit:
Mr. W. M. Hayes