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Ancient high-tech

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Boreas
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« on: February 19, 2007, 09:17:07 pm »

Archaeological dig reveals high-tech medieval instrument.

When the owners of a restaurant in the historic British city of Canterbury dug the foundations for an extension to their period property, they may have hoped to find an old coin or two. Instead, they unearthed a rare scientific instrument.




 
The 8th astrolabe quadrant ever found. (Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.)


Nestled among shards of pottery in a fourteenth-century rubbish pit, archaeologists watching over the dig spotted an astrolabe quadrant - a complex astronomical calculator for telling the time and calculating latitude.

Such devices are extremely rare it is only the eighth such instrument ever to be discovered. And finding it in what was probably a rubbish dump is even more unusual.

http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070212/full/070212-9.html
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