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,

Date Made: 1961

Maker: Archer, Cowley & Company

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United Kingdom: England, Oxford

Subject: Mathematics


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Mathematics, Science & Mathematics, Scale Rules, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MA.319896Accession Number: 239611Catalog Number: 319896

Object Name: rulebas-reliefReplicaObject Type: bas-relief

Physical Description: plaster (overall material)Measurements: overall: 25 in x 65 in x 8 in; 63.5 cm x 165.1 cm x 20.32 cm


Record Id: nmah_905140

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