Time Standard of the Dark Ages: The H2O
Water clocks were among the earliest timekeepers that didn't
depend on the observation of celestial bodies. One of the oldest was found in the
tomb of Amenhotep I, buried around 1500 B.C. Later named clepsydras ("water thief")
by the Greeks, who began using them about 325 B.C., these were stone vessels with
sloping sides that allowed water to drip at a nearly constant rate from a small
hole near the bottom. Markings on the inside surfaces measured the passage of "hours"
as the water level reached them. These clocks were used to determine hours at night,
but may have been used in daylight as well.