Ancient Sundial Shaped Like Ham Was Roman Pocket Watch
A new 3-D model of a portable sundial found near Pompeii is helping researchers understand how to operate the "pork clock."
While excavating an ancient Roman villa buried in volcanic ash, 18th-century workers found an unusual lump of metal small enough to fit in a coffee mug. Cleaning it revealed something both historically important and hilarious: one of the world’s oldest known examples of a portable sundial, which was made in the shape of an Italian ham.
Now the “pork clock” ticks once more. Recently re-created through 3-D printing, a high-fidelity model of the sundial is helping researchers address questions about how it was used and the information it conveyed.
The model confirms, for instance, that using the whimsical timepiece required a certain amount of finesse, says Wesleyan University’s Christopher Parslow, a professor of classical studies and Roman archaeology who made