Monday, June 4, 2018

Edition Topoi Collections: Ancient Sundials

Ancient Sundials


The Berlin research project Ancient Sundials was initiated in 2011 (Topoi D-5-6). A survey of all known Greek and Roman sundials has been conducted with the creation of 3D models and their analyses. The properties of ancient sundials can be further analysed via its Web interface or computer accessible API.


In antiquity, sundials served mainly for timekeeping, but were only functional under consideration of the respective geographical latitudes. Furthermore, different types of sundials have been distinguished, such as conical, spherical, cylindrical or planar. Even smaller, portable specimen exist.
The research project aims to re-analyze as many as possible of the 550 to 600 known Greek or Roman sundials using modern analytical methods such as 3D modeling. Modern technologies allow insights into the level of ancient knowledge and its dissemination in the ancient world. The sources allow to derive more precise classifications of ancient sundials and to decipher their design or construction principles.
The descriptions of the sundials so far used in this context regarding materials and dating are based - at least in part - on the research literature of the respective objects. As a result, different terms may be used for identical objects. These terms will be harmonized in the long term.


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Excellence Cluster 264 Topoi, Einstein Foundation Berlin


sundials, knowledge transfer, technology, time, mapping, measuring




Ancient Sundials, 2016, Gerd Graßhoff, Elisabeth Rinner, Karlheinz Schaldach, Bernhard Fritsch, Liba Taub, Edition Topoi, DOI: 10.17171/1-1

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