IOW-EA5F72: Post-Medieval Miniature (pocket) Sundial

Rights Holder: Isle of Wight Council
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SUNDIAL

Unique ID: IOW-EA5F72

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete cast copper-alloy post-Medieval sundial of 17th or 18th century date. The sundial is of the simple ring type. It consists of a broad, flat, copper alloy ring with a channel cut in the centre along its circumference which is filled with a separate sliding collar now 'welded' and fused to the ring and has an open slit on the interior. At the centre of the slit a small pin hole is visible. It is marked on the exterior with horizontal gradation lines and the initials of the months of the year, in groups of six arranged to either side of the centre: 'I F M A M I' to one side (for the first months of the year) and 'I A S O N D' (for the later months of the year) to the other side. The letters 'S H W' are marked beside further gradations on the exterior. The interior is marked with two circumferential horizontal lines at the centre with digits representing the hours of the day: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 S on one side and: W 4 3 2112 W on the other side. These circumferential lines on the interior are interrupted by the central slot. The exterior is inscribed in lower case: As time and hours pass away/So doth life of man decay The instrument has a shiny mid-green patina and is very worn making it difficult to see some of the letters and digits. Diameter: 39.1mm; width: 11.5mm; thickness: 1.6mm. Weight: 20.53g. These sundials are known as simple ring dials or poke dials ('poke' being an archaic word for pocket). They operated by means of a sliding collar which was pierced with a hole. The collar could be set into position for the month of the year and, when the dial was suspended vertically, the sun would shine through the hole onto the interior of the ring. The time could then be read by looking at the closest gradation mark to the spot of light on the interior of the ring. Turner states "A cheap dial, it was popular during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries among country people who kept it in their poke, or pocket. Not infrequently they are literally unearthed (Turner 1980: 25).

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Class: Miniature (pocket)

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Exactly AD 1600
Date to: Exactly AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Width: 11.5 mm
Thickness: 1.6 mm
Weight: 20.53 g
Diameter: 39.1 mm

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: IOW2010-15-2

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Isle of Wight

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Woodland
Specific landuse: Deciduous native

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Turner, G. L'E. 1980 Antique Scientific Instruments Poole, Dorset Blandford Press Ltd 25

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: IOW
Created: 12 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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