What must be the world’s oldest sundial, dating back to the 13th Century BC—has been unearthed during recent excavations in Egypt, an archaeological team from the University of Basel, Switzerland, has announced.
While excavating stone huts apparently used to house workers building tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Swiss team under the direction of Prof. Susanne Bickel found a flattened piece of limestone on which a semicircle had been drawn.
The semicircle is divided into twelve sections of about 15 degrees each. A dent in the middle of the approximately 16 centimeter long horizontal baseline served to insert a wooden or metal bolt that would cast a shadow to show the hours of the day.
Small dots in the middle of each section were used for even more detailed time measuring.
The sophisticated design allowed laborers to determine their exact working hours, and serves as yet another indication of how advanced the ancient Egyptian civilization was—particularly in relation to its neighbors.
The most prominent pharaohs of the 13th Century Nineteenth dynasty in Egypt was Set I and his son, the red-haired Ramses II.