Ancient methods of taking measurements often used objects that were handy to people. For example, to measure length, people used their thumbs (which are about an inch), their feet (giving rise to the measurement known as a foot), or a yard (which could be a yard in front or behind someone's house or the length of two cubits, the measurement of a forearm). The measurement of a mile comes from the Roman term for "a thousand paces." To determine more exact measurements, civilizations such as those in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia began to use rods of precise lengths. To measure weight, many ancient people used the human body. They also used grains for lighter objects and then began to develop metals of standard weights. To measure volume, ancient people could use baskets or other types of jars or containers. The passage of time was often measured through the movement of the sun and through devices such as the sundial.