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Alphabe Thursday … S is for Sundial

September 25, 2013

I seem to have been swayed by sundials for a week or two; and so did a little research for this weeks letter; and recycled images from previous weeks

The origin of the sundial has been lost in time; but it is seems the relationship between time and a man’s shadow is always noticed.  So, man himself was the first sundial.  In the same way the direction and length of the shadows of different objects, trees, rocks or buildings would have been associated with the passage of time, both the time of day and the time of year.  

The latter was particularly important, just as it is today,  for a man needed to know the seasons of the year accurately, in order to know when to sow, when to gather in the harvest, when to prepare for the onset of winter and when to expect storms and floods.  

A wooden staff or pole driven into the ground in a vertical position would have been the simplest way for the farmer to discover such information; by the direction and length of its shadow.  

Although most of us think of a sundial as an ornament for the garden rather than a timepiece. It was however vertical wall sundials that were probably more common than any other form of dial and served both to regulate public clocks and to indicate time to passersby.

alphabet thursday 

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2013 12:28 pm

    Always amazed at the way Man seems to be able to invent tools and objects that enhance, improve or even just decorate our lives. Very interesting and informative post. Love to learn new things and AlphabeThursday group always does just that.

  2. September 26, 2013 3:42 pm

    great shots – i too always learn something interesting on Thursday!

  3. September 26, 2013 8:56 pm

    They might not be used for telling time anymore, but they are still wonderful decorations!

  4. September 27, 2013 3:45 am

    I have a sundial outside, but never thought it really worked. Maybe I just don’t get it! They are pretty, no matter what! {:-Deb

    • September 27, 2013 8:15 am

      mmm I would like to see it … I haven’t seen a real one for ages!!! I looked for one when I began researching them but with no luck!!

  5. September 27, 2013 10:50 am

    I am amazed at this , I was just trying to decide wether to take my sundial with me when I move house next week thanks you made the decision for me

  6. September 27, 2013 7:39 pm

    My granddad had a sundial in the yard when I was a kid. It was large, stone and so old it was turning a green shade. I had no idea how to use it or really what it was for at that age, but I spent many days imagining it had a place in my playtime.

  7. September 30, 2013 6:09 pm

    Lovely images. It is amazing to see what inventions that were created…and also to see what things were made of and/or how they were made or from what they were fashioned from!

    Blessings & Aloha!

  8. October 4, 2013 3:53 am


  9. October 4, 2013 3:57 am

    Sundials finally removed speculation and set the time accurately all over the world… As you said, this was very important for farmers to be able to sow their crops during the right season…

    It is super cool that our shadows can show us so much!

    Spectacular post for the letter “S”!

    Thanks for linking.


    • October 4, 2013 8:08 am

      I hadn’t thought about our shadows in such a positive way! Thanks to you !! _/\_

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