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Vindolanda: Clock or calendar?
Topic Started: Feb 25 2009, 06:14 AM (591 Views)
Alex
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Com'on you irons!
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Just seen this on the current Archaeology website thought you might be interested..

Clock or Calendar?
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SacoHarry
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I like the water-clock idea. Seemed a bit funny to make a big bronze disk with a peg in it that served no other purpose than saying, "Yep, it's Tuesday!" Being part of something more astronomical seems to make good sense. I Google'd "anaphoric clock" and found an interesting description at the Perseus Project. Brief excerpt:

"The anaphoric clock consists of a rotating star map behind a fixed, wire representation of the meridian, the horizon, the equator and the two tropics. The fixed disk consists of several concentric circles, divided into twenty-four sections by a series of small arcs. Each section represents one hour of the day. Because the long arc extending from one end of the disk to the other is the horizon, the first hour of the day begins on the right side of the disk at the horizon. The twelve hours of the day are above the horizon, and the twelve hours of the night are below the horizon. A stereographic map of the ecliptic was attached behind this fixed representation. Although circular in shape, the ecliptic did not rotate around its center. To accurately represent the daily path of the sun, the ecliptic rotated around a point approximately halfway between the center and the bottom edge of the circle. The ecliptic would complete one rotation around this point every day. Furthermore, the ecliptic was fashioned with 365 holes around its circumference, one for every day of the year, in which was placed a peg to represent the sun. The year began at the vernal equinox, and after each daily rotation of the ecliptic the peg would advance to the next hole along the perimeter of the ecliptic. However, the ecliptic was reset each day so that the peg always began at the horizon. The anaphoric clock was both a clock and a calendar, illustrating the both the time of day and the progression of the sun along the ecliptic."

The description says that the moving disk had 365 holes drilled in, whereas Vindolanda's seems like it only had half that. But if it was a "down-market" product like the Current Archaeology article says, maybe that makes sense.

At any rate, it's a seriously cool little piece of scrap!
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Marisa Addomine
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Hello, I am Marisa Addomine from Italy. I am a researcher in the field of early timekeeping: where can I find more information about the finding in Vindolanda of the fragment of the anaphoric clock? Thank you in advance

Marisa
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Badger
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Greetings!

I seem to recall that the clock fragment was found very near the surface...not sure if it was in disturbed layers or not. Perhaps someone can correct me on this, but didn't katesf find this near the end of the season?

Addendum: Here's what Andrew had to say about it in Archeology Magazine...clock

Badger

Edited by Badger, Feb 9 2013, 02:37 PM.
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