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Ancient sundial discovery by Cambridge students

By Adrian Curtis

Cambridge Univdrsity sundial front
Cambridge Univdrsity sundial front

Less than 100 examples of its type have survived

A 2,000-year-old inscribed Roman sundial has been discovered by a group of Cambridge students.

It is one of only a handful known to have survived and was recovered during the excavation of a roofed theatre in the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas, near Monte Cassino, in Italy.

Not only has the sundial survived largely undamaged for more than two millennia, but the presence of two Latin texts means researchers from the University of Cambridge have been able to glean precise information about the man who commissioned it.

The sundial was found lying face down by students of the faculty of classics as they were excavating the front of one of the theatre’s entrances along a secondary street.

“Less than 100 examples of this specific type of sundial have survived and of those, only a handful bear any kind of inscription at all – so this really is a special find,” said Dr Alessandro Launaro, a lecturer at the faculty of classics.

He added that the inscriptions suggest the town was more aware of, and involved in, the affairs of the capital than had been previously thought.


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