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2,000-year-old sundial changes perception of ancient Rome

(HAARETZ) — One day around 2,000 years ago, a Roman named Marcus Novius Tubula ordered an elaborate sundial, University of Cambridge researchers report after finding it intact two millennia later during excavation in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino, in Italy.

Carved in limestone and 54 centimeters in width, the sundial’s concave face was engraved with 11 hour lines intersecting three day curves. Thus the device could give indicate the season: the winter solstice, equinox and summer solstice, the archaeologists say. Its gnomon (pointer) was mostly gone, but a bit of it survived under lead fixing.

The sundial is one of less than 100 of its type that have survived, say archaeologists.