ID in this catalogue SL Louvre N 781
Type L-shaped 
Current Location

Musée du Louvre, Paris.

Sully Wing, Ground Floor, Room 6, "Writing and Scribes", Vitrine 6 "Weights and Measures" (Louvre Atlas database) 

Catalogue Numbers N 781 
Provenance Unknown 
Date 1400-1350 BC (Louvre Atlas database) 
Dimensions H 49.8 mm, W 31.8 mm, D 18.5 mm (Louvre Atlas database) 
Material Wood (Louvre Atlas database) 
Markings and inscriptions The reconstructed scale uses lines across the width of the scale in the 3:6:9:12:15 length ratios. The gnomon block contains a hole and vertical reference mark for a plumb bob on one side. "Amenhotep III offering Maat to the sun god; on the short side [opposite the plumb bob mark], the goddess Sothis "mistress of the year" (Louvre Atlas database)  
Notes This is the gnomon part of an L-shaped sundial. It is on display with the missing parts reconstructed in modern material. The reconstruction also includes an ancient-looking plumb bob. The original relationship between the plumb bob and the gnomon is unknown. 

Borchardt (1920) p. 32 ff.
Salmas (2014)


Three images are available in the Louvre Museum's Atlas database here

ID in this catalogue SL Osireion
Type L-shaped 
Current Location In situ 
Catalogue Numbers None 
Provenance Osireion, Abydos: ceiling of "Sarcophagus Chamber" 
Date  New Kingdom, Seti l (c. 1300 BC)
Dimensions Height of text and diagram approx. 3m. Height of gnomon in drawing approx. 30 cm. 
Material Carved on stone ceiling  
Markings and inscriptions Each marking on the sundial is accompanied with a number (3,6,9,12) which relate directly to the ratio of lengths between adjacent marks on surviving L-shaped sundials. 
Notes This is a chapter of (or perhaps appendix to) the Book of Nut (also known as the Fundamentals of the Course of the Stars) which contains a diagram of an L-shaped sundial and a text explaining its manufacture and use. It was first published by Frankfort (1933). Major editions of the whole text are presented in Neugebauer and Parker (1960) and von Lieven (2007). Discussion of the interpretation of the text is ongoing. 

Frankfort (1933) Ch. 8, Pls. LXXXII-LXXXIII

Macnaughton (1944)

Neugebauer and Parker (1960) pp. 116-119, Pl. 32

Bruins (1965)

Isler (1991)

Clagett (1995)

Fermor (1997)

Symons (1998)

Symons (1999)

Symons (2002b)

von Lieven (2007)

Salmas (2014)
von Bomhard (2014)

Hoffmann (2016)

Symons (2016)


Frankfort (1933) Plates LXXXII and LXXXIII, published by the Egypt Exploration Society and reproduced with the kind permission of the Society.



ID in this catalogue SL BM EA10673
Type L-shaped  
Current Location British Museum, London  
Catalogue Numbers

EA10673, Frame 3, fragments 60-62

1885, 0101.558.3 

Provenance San el-Hagar, Tanis. Donated to the British Museum by the Egypt Exploration Fund in 1885 
Date Roman, 30 BC - 3rd Century AD  
Material Papyrus 
Markings and inscriptions Papyrus fragments contain a drawing of an L-shaped sundial, with diagonal lines indicating shadows and numbers indicating hours  

The BM also lists EA76499,1 (2010,1006.7) a tin box containing further fragments of this papyrus. The status of this new collection (acquired in 2010) is unknown, awaiting publication by Ryholt.

"Tin box ('Huntley & Palmers Biscuit Manufacturers') with label 'Blackened Papyrus-fragments (part of Tanis geographical papyrus?). Received from Egypt Exploration Society (Summer 1933). To await examination by Mr. Shorter.' Later label by Stephen Quirke 'Tanis? Charred fragments EES presented 1933 summer kept in Keeper's Room until JAN 1992'. Inside are numerous small bodies of charred papyrus rolls wrapped in paper; several have the figure '20' on them. Too fragile to estimate the exact number; the box is full." (British Museum Database)

Griffith and Petrie (1889) Plate IX shows that fragment 1 contains several sundial hieroglyphs.


Griffith and Petrie (1889) Part II and Pl. XV

Borchardt (1910)

Borchardt (1920) p. 4

Sloley (1931)

Pogo (1932b)

Clagett (1995)

Symons (1998)

Symons (1999)

Salmas (2014)


The British Museum database has images of the papyrus here (the fragments relating to the sundial are labelled 60, 61, and 62).

Griffith and Petrie (1889) Pl. XV contains a drawing of the fragments: