ID in this catalogue SC BM 1936,0309.1
Type Conical
Current location

British Museum storage. In the early 1900s it was in "Southern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 29, No. 976" (Budge 1909).

A gypsum cast (Kościuk 1992) is on display in the Greco-Roman Antiquities Hall, Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum; the cast was formerly in the Greco-Roman Museum, Alexandria. The BAAM online catalogue currently (August 2016) does not distinguish this as a replica. 

Catalogue Numbers

BM 1936,0309.1 (1936 was the year the the object was transferred to the Greco-Roman Department. Original accession was pre-1900)

Dialface ID 187

BAAM 0115 (cast)

GRM 15186 (cast)

Gibbs 3086G


Found in 1852 in Alexandria, "at the base of Cleopatra's Needle" (Scott Gatty et al. 1900, p 32) and possibly this is the sundial described in Arvanitakis (1903) as the dial "found near Cleopatra's Needle in 1872 by M. Dixon" which closely resembles SC NMWarsaw 198850

Date "The lettering is probably Byzantine, but the museum has characterized the dial as Ptolemaic." (Gibbs 1976)
Dimensions H 404 mm, W 429 mm, D 366 mm (Gibbs 1976)
Material Marble 
Markings and inscriptions

"The gnomon hole has a semicircular vertical section 50 mm wide and 51 mm deep" (Gibbs 1976)

"Eleven hour lines extend from winter to summer solstice. The three day curves have been engraved always equidistant from each other and from the lower edge of the conical surface. Dots are visible at the junctions of hour lines and winter solstice. Six shallow steps decorate the base." (Gibbs 1976)

"Greek letters have been engraved in the spaces below the equinox close to the right hour line : 


This dial is a unique example of a conical dial with hours marked in Greek letters. " (Gibbs 1976)


Scott Gatty et al. (1900) pp. 31-32

Budge (1909a)

Gibbs (1976) p. 304 and Plate 48

Kościuk (1992)

Graßhoff (2015)


The Berlin Sundials Project has twelve images available here.

The following two photographs of the cast in Alexandria are reproduced with the kind permission of Prof. Jacek Kościuk.