A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds.
The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises.
The sundial might be “evidence of attempts of ancient researchers to understand patterns of apparent motion of luminaries and the nature of time,” study researcher Larisa Vodolazhskaya of the Archaeoastronomical Research Center at Southern Federal University in Russia told Live Science in an email. Read more.
A carved stone found marking a Bronze Age grave in the Ukraine is the oldest sundial of its kind ever found, a new study reveals.
The sundial may have marked the final resting place of a young man sacrificed or otherwise marked as a messenger to the gods or ancestors, said study researcher Larisa Vodolazhskaya of the Archaeoastronomical Research Center at Southern Federal University in Russia. Vodolazhskaya analyzed the geometry of the tire-size stone and its carvings, confirming the stone would have marked the time using a system of parallel lines and an elliptical pattern of circular depressions.
The elliptical pattern makes the carving an analemmatic sundial. A traditional sundial marks the time using a gnomon, a fixed vertical that casts a shadow. An analemmatic sundial has a gnomon that must move every day of the year to adjust to the changing position of the sun in the sky. Read more.
A mysterious Viking sundial found in Greenland may have helped the ancient mariners sail at the same north-south latitude across the Atlantic, new research suggests.
The study, detailed Tuesday (April 9) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A Mathematical and Physical Sciences, suggests that the raiding Norsemen might have been even more impressive sailors than previously thought.
"It is widely accepted that Norse people were excellent mariners. Now it seems they used much more sophisticated navigational instruments than we thought before," said study co-author Balázs Bernáth, a researcher at Eötvös University in Hungary. Read more.
Archaeologists in Peru have discovered a sundial, an underground tunnel and a reception room in a complex dating back to the Wari civilization.
ONE of the relics is believed to be a precursor to an Incan sundial, while 18 niches painted in white on the walls may have held ancestral mummies, Joseph Ochatoma, leading the excavation, told the newspaper.
Ochatoma added that the reception room is shaped like the letter “D” and is surrounded by platforms. The discovery was made several months ago but only disclosed recently.
The complex, situated in the Andean region of Ayacucho was discovered in 1931. The first excavations there began in 1942 but were cut short due to budget shortfalls.
Archaeologists from the San Cristobal de Huamanga National University are perusing the area for more information about the Wari civilisation that dates back to between 600 and 1100 AD, Ochatoma said. (source)
It was discovered while archaeologists were carefully digging fill soil above a cellar dated to the early James Fort period (1607-1610) at Jamestown, Virginia, the site of North America’s first successful English colony. The artifact was the lower leaf of an ivory pocket sundial known in the 17th century as a diptych dial. It clearly bore the name of its maker, Hans Miller, who was a 17th century craftsman known to have made sundials in Nuremberg, Germany. Like many objects found at the Jamestown excavations, it had taken the long journey across the Atlantic, likely in the pocket of one of early Jamestown’s gentlemen colonists. Such pieces were more commonly carried by individuals of gentry status.
It is not totally unique within the Jamestown context. Another lower leaf section of a table dial was recovered in 1998 from a structure near one of the palisades of the original James Fort. The diptych dial, on the other hand, was found in a cellar near James Fort’s first well, which was only 10 feet away from the cellar. Read more.
It is one of the best preserved buildings from the Roman world, a 2,000-year-old testament to the immense power and wealth of the empire.
But mystery has always surrounded what lies behind the unusual design of the Pantheon, a giant temple in the heart of Rome that was built by the Emperor Hadrian.
Now experts have come up with an intriguing theory – that the temple acted as a colossal sun dial, with a beam of light illuminating its enormous entrance at the precise moment that the emperor entered the building.
Constructed on Hadrian’s orders and completed in AD128, the Pantheon’s hemispherical dome is punctured by a 30ft-wide circular hole known as the ‘oculus’.
It provides the interior of the building with its only source of natural light and allows in rain and – on rare occasions – snow. Read more.