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# The Hand of Time

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posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 07:15 AM
Hello ATS Folks,

Imagine this scenario.....

You are living tens of thousands of years ago, at the dawn of human 'scientific awareness'. There are no clocks/timing devices (mechanical or otherwise) and very little understanding of Earth time (hours, minutes, seconds) or, indeed, how to measure and record Earth time. All you can see is that the sun rises in the morning on one horizon and, through the passage of time, it sets on another horizon. And so it goes on. Through continued observations you may even notice that over a longer passage of time the sun rises and sets slightly further around the horizon. Other than these observations, you have no real concept of a 'day' as we would understand it.

How then do we measure a 'day' and then divide it in the hour, minute and second based on the sexagesimal (base 60) system? How do we create a clock based on 1 solar day, i.e. one complete revolution of the Earth? Furthermore, how can we divide the 'solar day' in such a way that the method can be replicated over time should the knowledge become lost and we have to start all over again?

In consideration of the above challenge, I came up with the following possibility and I would welcome other ideas/solutions.

It is intersting to note that the Ancient Egyptians used a Standard Cubit of 24 digits and also a Royal Cubit of 28 digits. The difference of 4 digits may have been the result of the absence/inclusion of the phalanges of the 2 thumbs - 4 digits in total.

Best wishes,

Scott Creighton

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 08:19 AM
That, sir, is cool.

I'm confused as to why you felt the need to divide 60 by 1?

Still very cool

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 08:39 AM
reply to post by Scott Creighton

It does make perfect sense that one could use their pulse as a measurement of time. In fact, this is still done. When I was little, my brothers and I would judge how fast we could run back and forth using our pulse.

But, just to point out... the average heart rate is not 60 beats per minute. Therefore, our current time model is not based off of our pulse.

Unless you are assuming that our current time model is a 6-hour model. In that case, in earlier times, 6 hours was a "watch". There were 4 watches. This of course adds up to 24 hours. So, is it prudent to believe that during their "vigils" or watches, the guard would feel their pulse for 72 beats, switch fingers, 72 beats and so forth for all five digits. 360 seconds later, which is 6 minutes, they would start the process over. Doing this process 10 times, this would equal an hour. Then doing this process over another 6 times, this would equal the 6 hours. Is there any evidence of their being a time keeper who stood watch with the guard? That his method was the number of beats he counted? Then, was there a time keeper who kept track of the guards who were sleeping or busy? "Hey, boss, you have 720 beats to get ready for work!" Hmm...

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 11:38 AM

Hello TarzanBeta,

Great post - many thanks. Your write:

TB: But, just to point out... the average heart rate is not 60 beats per minute. Therefore, our current time model is not based off of our pulse.

SC: I understand this but I am not using 60 beats for the pulse - I am starting by using an average pulse beat of 103,680 per solar day. This is to say that if you draw a circle on the ground at the equinox and place a stick at the centre of the circle, observe the shadow and start counting your pulse, in one full solar day you will count 103,680 pulse beats. (Of course, you do not need to count for the entire circle. If, for example, you divided the circle into 64 equal parts then you would count 1,620 pulse beats for one 64 part. To complete for the full circle is simply a matter of multiplying by 64 = 103,680 pulse beats for the full circle).

At this stage we have not converted the pulse beats into hours/minutes/seconds i.e. that there are 72 beats per 60 seconds since we have not yet divided the solar circle. We have not yet defined the second (lowest practical unit) whereby there is 1 second of time to 1.2 pulse beats. We just have the total beats in a solar day which we will now convert into the base 60 sexagesimal system.

TB: Unless you are assuming that our current time model is a 6-hour model. In that case, in earlier times, 6 hours was a "watch". There were 4 watches. This of course adds up to 24 hours. So, is it prudent to believe that during their "vigils" or watches, the guard would feel their pulse for 72 beats, switch fingers, 72 beats and so forth for all five digits. 360 seconds later, which is 6 minutes,...

SC: Yes 72 beats is 1 minute (we know this now) but you are assuming here that the minute has already been quantified (for the guard). The question I am asking is how was the solar day divvied up so that we have a minute that is equal to 72 pulse beats.

TB: Your theory is possible, of course, but how was this method applied before time-pieces were invented?

SC: Once you have defined the second/minute/hour (i.e. 1 minute = 72 pulse beats) you can then devise mechanical time-keepers such as the hour-glass, water-clock, sundial etc the units based on the base 60 system of time measurement.

Best wishes,

Scott Creighton

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 11:46 AM
I thought our 60 minute hour came from the Babylonian sexagesimal mathematical base? The 24 hour day from the egyptians was based on a shadow clock.

Perhaps I'm misreading the concept here. Are you trying to conceive of a way to tell time in the lack of all external mechanisms?

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 11:47 AM

Hello Mr H.

Mr H: I'm confused as to why you felt the need to divide 60 by 1?

SC: We do this to obtain our base time unit i.e. 1 second. We have 12 units of 60 units i.e. 12 hours of 60 minutes. We obtain the base time unit of 1 second simply by dividing 60 by 1.

Best wishes,

Scott Creighton

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:02 PM

Hi Seiko,

Seiko: I thought our 60 minute hour came from the Babylonian sexagesimal mathematical base? The 24 hour day from the egyptians was based on a shadow clock.... Are you trying to conceive of a way to tell time in the lack of all external mechanisms?

SC: But how and why did the Babylonias come up with the sexagesimal system? Why did the AEs divide their 'shadow clock' into 24 parts? What was the underlying source of their sexagesimal units of time? Afterall, with 10 toes and ten fingers it would seem more 'natural' to have developed a time system based on the decimal system. What is being presented is a theoretical means by which a sexagesimal system could have been developed using the human pulse as the underlying 'source'.

Best wishes,

Scott Creighton

[edit on 6/11/2009 by Scott Creighton]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 12:11 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of 360 degrees base 60. 60 minutes of arc in a degree, and 60 seconds of arc in a minute. 6 units in day

I guess I'm getting at the way the rotation of the earth breaks down.

posted on Nov, 8 2009 @ 02:47 AM
I realized I didn't answer the 24 part. 360 has 24 divisors, 6 units on the chain that goes around the circle having 4 notches per. It's a good example of how mathematics were discovered as a reference to the way things move.

I should have paid more attention to trigonometry.

A string on a circle from the center to the side will measure the rotation 6 times. The basic measurements of radius and circumference in lack of empirical evidence.

I believe their understanding of how the stars revolved across the night sky led them to this. They also I believe had a 360 day year based of the movement of watching the stars. The stars moved 1/360th per day in a cycle.

360/6 is 60.

I could entirely be wrong, but I was reading up on this some time ago trying to determine where and how we developed our concepts of time. I've always thought our concept of time is just a measurement. This measurement worked for them.

posted on Nov, 15 2009 @ 11:55 PM
My issue would be, that unless the thumb has some degree of significance in the Egyptian culture. That people so logical would either go left to right or right to left. It appears to me that you have the Egyptians going inside out or outside in (depending on if the palm were up or down) I guess one could argue that the with both thumbs pointing up, that would be a logical pattern from top down, but if they were doing the math on what they see, then i would argue that palm up or down gives the best view of the fingers and then that person would go from end to end.

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