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'Scaphe' sundial

This sundial was found in Palestrina, near Rome in the 18th century. It is the oldest form of sundial known, a scaphe dial. It is formed from a hollow sphere upon which the hour lines are scored. The (missing) metal gnomon in the center throws the shadow that tells the time.

 Ivory portable dial

The eleven lines running from back to front divided each day, sunrise to sunset, into twelve parts whatever the time of year. As there are more daylight hours in Summer than winter this lead to an 'unequal' hours system, making hours longer in the Summer.

 Inner face

There are also lines running across the dial. These show the seasons with the middle line halfway between the highest point (midsummer) and its lowest point (midwinter).

 Holes with town names

This type of dial was much used by Romans although it is thought to have been invented by Berosus, a Greek living on Kos in the 3rd century BC. It is thought that the head on the front of the dial is meant to be Berosus himself but there is little evidence to support this.

 Latitude holes

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