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Human Sundial Clocks

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Douglas Hunt in Scotland can provide the layout details for installing a lawn human sundial almost anywhere on the earth, based on your latitude and longitude.   A person standing on the correct month on the centre board can then use his/her own shadow (on a SUNNY day !) to determine local time based on an array of hour numbers representing the time.

We set up such a sundial in our front lawn in July of 2008, and it is very popular with our museum visitors, both young and old !  We used round, coloured patio stones for the hours (pink for daylight-saving time, grey for standard time), with the thin plastic numbers and the surface of the centre board protected by a tough, clear plastic film.  Our 2008 summer student is shown above demonstrating the dramatic effect of using one's own shadow to estimate the time to within about fifteen minutes.  And no, here in Ontario we do not clear the SNOW that covers our sundial typically from late November through early April !

Construction details, suggested suitable materials, and pictures of  installed examples from around the world can be found on the sunclocks web site.   Apparently these "human" sundials are very popular with children at schools, where the hour numbers can be painted on any hard play surface.   We know from our own experience that kids like to skip across the numbers.