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26-Sep-2017 23:36

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A sundial shows the time by displaying the position of a shadow on a (usually) flat surface, which has markings that correspond to the hours.With the knowledge of latitude, a well-constructed sundial can measure local solar time with reasonable accuracy, within a minute or two.Sundials continued to be used to monitor the performance of clocks until the modern era.However, practical limitations, such as that sundials only work well on relatively clear days, and never during the night, encouraged the development of other techniques for measuring and displaying time.Some authors, however, write about water clocks appearing as early as 4000 BC in these regions of the world.The Greek and Roman civilizations are credited for initially advancing water clock design to include complex gearing, which was connected to fanciful automata and also resulted in improved accuracy.

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Other regions of the world, including India and China, also have early evidence of water clocks, but the earliest dates are less certain.Water clocks, also known as clepsydrae (sg: clepsydra), along with the sundials, are possibly the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions being the vertical gnomon and the day counting tally stick.