A team of archaeologists from the University of Basel has found one of the world's earliest sundials during the excavation in Kings' Valley, Upper Egypt.
The discovery, which yields one of the world's oldest ancient Egyptian sun dials, was dug up by the researchers while clearing the entrance to one of the tombs at the area.
Uncovered in an area of stone huts, the sundial includes a flattened piece of limestone (so-called Ostracon) on which a semicircle in black color had been drawn.
The semicircle features twelve sections of about 15 degrees each with a dent in the middle of the approximately 16 centimeter long horizontal baseline used to insert a wooden or metal bolt that would cast a shadow to show the hours of the day.
Researchers suggest that “the huts were used in the 13th century BCE to house the men working at the construction of the graves while needing sundial to measure their work hours.
The earliest sundials known from the archaeological record are the obelisks (3500 BCE) and shadow clocks (1500 BCE) from ancient Egyptian astronomy and Babylonian astronomy.
The recent excavation was done in cooperation with the Egyptian authorities under the direction of Professor Susanne Bickel.