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The sundial of Augustus and its survey: unresolved issues and possible solutions

The sundial of Augustus and its survey: unresolved issues and possible solutions Abstract A lively debate has developed regarding the characteristics of the so-called Horologium Augusti, at first known only through a notice in Pliny and subsequently discovered (at least partly) during the course of excavations begun in 1997 (Leonhardt, in: The Horologium of Augustus: debate and context, 2014). The gnomon of the “Horologium” was composed by the obelisk that presently is nearby in “Piazza Montecitorio” in Rome (Fig. 1). A large part of the debate has centred on the very function of the Horologium, in particular whether it was a true functioning solar clock or simply a sundial. The scope of the present essay concentrates rather on the metrical accuracy that such a sundial could have had; in particular, we will hazard a hypothesis as to the accuracy with which the direction of the sundial was laid out and the possibility of measuring the azimuth in its present placement. Such a detailed geodetic-topographic survey of the portion thus far excavated, could provide useful information for the eventual pursuit of excavations yielding, at the same time, further avenues of research; as an example it would also allow for the deduction of two pieces of information still not entirely established: the exact height of the gnomon, and the exact position of the original placement of the axis of the obelisk. Approximate position of the “Horologium”: present ground level is approximately 6 m higher than Augustus age ground http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png "Acta Geodaetica et Geophysica" Springer Journals

The sundial of Augustus and its survey: unresolved issues and possible solutions

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
2015 Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN
2213-5812
eISSN
2213-5820
DOI
10.1007/s40328-015-0142-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract A lively debate has developed regarding the characteristics of the so-called Horologium Augusti, at first known only through a notice in Pliny and subsequently discovered (at least partly) during the course of excavations begun in 1997 (Leonhardt, in: The Horologium of Augustus: debate and context, 2014). The gnomon of the “Horologium” was composed by the obelisk that presently is nearby in “Piazza Montecitorio” in Rome (Fig. 1). A large part of the debate has centred on the very function of the Horologium, in particular whether it was a true functioning solar clock or simply a sundial. The scope of the present essay concentrates rather on the metrical accuracy that such a sundial could have had; in particular, we will hazard a hypothesis as to the accuracy with which the direction of the sundial was laid out and the possibility of measuring the azimuth in its present placement. Such a detailed geodetic-topographic survey of the portion thus far excavated, could provide useful information for the eventual pursuit of excavations yielding, at the same time, further avenues of research; as an example it would also allow for the deduction of two pieces of information still not entirely established: the exact height of the gnomon, and the exact position of the original placement of the axis of the obelisk. Approximate position of the “Horologium”: present ground level is approximately 6 m higher than Augustus age ground

Journal

"Acta Geodaetica et Geophysica"Springer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 2016

References