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Shadows and Droplets: Timekeeping Instruments in Ancient Egypt


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We continue our lecture season on Friday, April 13, at 7pm, with a talk by Dr. Sarah Symons on Shadows and Droplets: Timekeeping Instruments from Ancient Egypt. Free and open to the public.

Sidney Smith Hall
Room 1084
100 St. George Street

How were the ancient Egyptian day and night divided? What do we know about keeping time during the span of pharaonic history? Have many objects used for timekeeping survived? Do we know who made and used them and why? This talk discusses ‘formal’ methods for measurement of hours in ancient Egypt, giving an overview of the surviving evidence including sundials and water clocks. We will compare different instruments and trace the extent to which we understand the time-keeping function of each.

Sarah Symons is an Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Science at McMaster University. She teaches aspects of history of science, science communication, mathematics, and astronomy. Her research interests include astronomy and timekeeping in ancient Egypt. Sarah is also Director of the William J. McCallion Planetarium in Hamilton.