Replica of Arundel Metrological Marble

This plaster cast is a full-sized replica of the Arundel metrological marble at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The original relief was probably made around 460–430 BCE in western Asia Minor or Greece. It illustrates traditional units of measurement based on the human body, including a fathom (the width of the outstretched arms) and an ell (the distance from the elbow to the fingertip). In this example, the fathom is 6 feet, 9-57/64 inches long in modern English units, and the ell is 20-15/32 inches. It is very faint in this replica, but a human foot is shown above the figure's right arm. Seven of these feet are equal to one fathom on the relief. The Smithsonian received the replica in 1961. Earlier cataloguing suggests the British firm of Archer, Cowley & Co. made the replica.
Reference: "The Metrological Relief," ref. no. AN.Michaelis 83, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Archer, Cowley & Company
Physical Description
plaster (overall material)
overall: 25 in x 65 in x 8 in; 63.5 cm x 165.1 cm x 20.32 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, Oxford
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Scale Rules
Science & Mathematics
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum

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