Article updated: 3/8/2013 2:40 PM

Researchers: We may have found a fabled sunstone

Buy this photo Buy this photo
Gallery Image

The Alderney Crystal, a piece of calcite. Researchers say the rough, whitish crystal recovered from the wreckage of 16th century English warship may be a sunstone.

Associated Press/2012

About this Article

In a paper published earlier this week, a Franco-British group argued that the Alderney Crystal -- a chunk of Icelandic calcite found amid a 16th century wreck at the bottom of the English Channel -- worked as a kind of solar compass, allowing sailors to determine the position of the sun even when it was hidden by heavy cloud, masked by fog, or below the horizon.
Galleries by Category