Antikythera mechanism

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The Antikythera mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism was recovered from an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900. Thought to be over 2,000 years old, gamma ray analysis has revealed an intricate astronomical device utilising "calibrated differential gears"[1] and capable of predicting the movements of the sun and moon. Remarkably, it pre-dates instruments of similar complexity by around a thousand years.


Diving for sponges and black coral at a depth of 140 ft, Elias Stadiatos reported disturbing visions of "dead, naked women".[2] Subsequent dives discovered a treasure trove of ancient marble statues. The Greek government was informed of the find and many artifacts were recovered from the wreck the following year. The haul included the statues, jewelry, and what appeared to be several pieces of corroded bronze. Under the belief that these pieces were fragments of a larger statue, they were filed away in the depths of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, while the rest of the artifacts were placed on display. It would be years later that the shipwreck and cargo would be dated to about 65 B.C., sinking off Antitythera while on a voyage from the eastern Greek islands of Rhodes or Cos; it had been speculated that the ship may have been bound for Rome.[3]