March 19, 2013

Ancient Sundial Discovered in Egypt

During the 2013 season of the Valley of the Kings Project, one of the oldest portable sundials (over 3500 years old) was discovered in a sarcophagus containing the mummy of a woman named Nehemes Babu.

The small sundial is made of limestone, engraved with a semicircle marked out by twelve divisions painted with black lines. There is a hole in the center that is presumed to have served as the fixing point for a wooden or metal pin, whose shadow would have marked out the hours. Archaeologists on the project surmise that the sundial served to measure the working hours during the day since it was found near the huts of those suspected to have constructed the tomb in the 13th century BCE.

However, the positioning of the Sun was also considered a key aspect in the guiding those whom had passed to the afterlife, as recorded on the walls of the royal tombs. Could the newly discovered sundial been a visual map to the afterlife left to guide Nehemes Babu or was it simply a time piece meant to keep the tomb builders on schedule?    

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