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Institute for the Study of the Ancient World



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Measuring Life by the Stars in Greco-Roman Antiquity

By Allison Meier


"The oldest known example of a portable sundial is in the shape of a ham. The Ham of Herculaneum, which dates to the end of the 1st century, was discovered in 1755 in the Villa dei Papiri, a site destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The tiny bronze device shaped like a hunk of meat on a hook is one of the more curious survivors of the widespread culture of timekeeping in the Greek and Roman world..."

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