[time-nuts] Pre-industrial timekeeping accuracy RE: Lifetime of glass containers

Lux, James P james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Jun 15 17:49:35 EDT 2009

> -----Original Message-----
> From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com 
> [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On Behalf Of J. Forster
> Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 2:34 PM
> To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
> Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Lifetime of glass containers
> Interestingly, I recently had dinner with an archeology 
> professor, interested in the Etruscan period. She had just 
> discovered a flatish piece of glass i9n a dig, thousands of 
> years old, and believes it was made essentially like rolling 
> out dough on a slab while red hot.
> -John

Returning to a more time-nuts-y topic..

What sort of time measurement accuracy would folks 2000 years ago have had?

For instance, were they aware of the (relative) constancy of the swings of a pendulum of constant length?

I remember stories from school about Galileo using his pulse as a clock. They're probably apocryphal, and I would think that he would have easy access to other things that tick once a second or there abouts (dripping water, etc, if not swings of a pendulum).  

I'm also familiar with the famous Shakespearean anachronism of the striking clock in "Julius Caesar", and the usual commentary says the Romans had only sundials and clepsydra.  So how good is a clepsydra?  What if we go back a 1000 years?  

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