Confused by Shadows
I’ve been busy this week with trips to libraries for research. In fact I’ve been made a little bit busier due to a problem with something I found.
I was checking the sizes and dating evidence for temples at Agrigento. The plan of Temple A in Marconi’s report was very odd because it showed most columns mainly on the north side of the temple, and I thought the surviving columns are on the south side. When I looked later at the plans for Temple D, I also found the shadows were pointing in the opposite direction. So it looked like Marconi had rotated the plan by 180° without noting it.
Temple of Hercules viewed from the South. Photo (cc) Mark1706.
Then came the next problem.
Temples D and F are very close in date — perhaps twenty years apart — and very close in size. The slightly later Temple F is longer by around a metre in length. They are almost twin temples. But there are problems with the plans, which I’ve scanned so you can see for your self.
Temple D, also known at the Temple of Juno Lacinia. Plan from Pirro Marconi’s report of 1929.
Now here’s a puzzle. Is one of these plans rotated or is the architect not following a consistent scheme when drawing in the shadows? I assumed that because the plan looked like it was professionally drawn that it would follow conventions. Moreover the shadows on the plan of Temple F are very odd, because they suggest that the Sun is at an azimuth of 45° but in Agrigento the northernmost position of the Sun would be around 61° — so is Temple F printed with south at the top of the plan? It’s possible because I’ve found a plan Gela with the north arrow inverted. The obvious answer would be to check other plans. I’ve tried that, but the current convention in Classical Archaeology is that you simply don’t mark north.
This is where GoogleMaps is handy because I can check the satellite view. Doing this shows that the shadows are wrong. Not all the details on the plans would be as accurate as they first appear.