Shine a light: Why the 2,000-year-old Pantheon in Rome might actually be a giant sundial

The huge 30ft hole built into the dome of Rome’s Pantheon has mystified minds for centuries.

Now historians have come up with an intriguing explanation for the feature – it was built as a sundial to illuminate the emperor as he entered on important occasions.

The opening is the only source of natural light for the 2,000 year-old structure, but at the same time it also lets in rain and there are tiny holes in the floor which act as a drain.

Experts found that the hole allows a single shaft of sunlight to illuminate the interior during the March and September equinox as well as on April 21 – the date Rome is said to have been founded.

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