Sundials and their characteristics

If one wants to compare ancient sundials with present sundials a few things need to be relaxed perhaps to compare the characteristics of present day sundials. This page wants to separate the characteristics (for each type of sundial) and than check these characteristics against ancient (neolithic) radials combinations, which might be representing sundials.
A statistical study could be done if radials map sundials and I assume that this will provide a large correlation (like done in studies where megalithic art motifs are compared with posphenes), but I doubt if that is the way forward. I think that the coorelation of functional characteristics of radials and sundials might reveal more.

What neolithic people might have known

It is assumed that neolithic man would have known something about the celestial pole (by watching the night sky) and thus also something about north (and then perhaps south) and they might known something that is close to east and west as being halfway (in days or angle) between north/south or solstice suns sets/sets.
In case neolithic people had a concept of azimuth and perhaps of declination; then perhaps the neo-hour lines in the radials could be azimuth lines. This would be inline with the statement of D. Price (Vistas in astronomy, Vol 9, page 4, 1968):
"One cannot well avoid the suggestion that the chief function of the sundial in antiquity was not the determination of the time of the day, but season of the year."

What neolithic people might not have known

A few things we experience nowadays due to our capacity to measure time without the sun, were perhaps not known in neolithic times:

Different types of likely sundials

Several different sundials exist in present times. Because all radials have lines and dots which seem to be repeating objects to indicate possible neo-hours, the following sundials (Waugh [1973]) have also some of these prominent characteristics:

Further sundial characteristics

Radials and sundials

The radials found in megalithic art might be comparable to more modern sundials. Some examples:
Code More modern
Type of sundial
Clogher, Co. Tyrone
early monastic sundial
might be modern by itself!
Althought M. Brennan
([1983], page 159) thinks
it is megalithic art
has something of a analemmatic sundial,
like a Foster-Lambert dial?.

Feedback gotten


I would like to thank the following people for their help and constructive feedback: Michael Harley and Tony Wood and all unmentioned other people. Any remaining errors in methodology or results are my responsibility of course!!! If you want to provide constructive feedback, let me know.
Disclaimer and Copyright

Major content related changes: Jan 9, 2008