Scientist tackles mystery of ancient astronomical device

The shoebox-size chunk of bronze didn’t attract much attention when divers retrieved it from an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901. Archaeologists on the expedition had their hands full with far more impressive finds, including life-size statues of warriors and horses, delicate glass bowls and scores of ceramic vessels called amphorae.

Decades would pass before scientists realized that the nondescript bronze - now called the Antikythera Mechanism - was the biggest treasure of all.

The device consisted of a series of intricate, interlocking gears designed to predict eclipses and calculate the positions of the sun, moon and planets as they swept across the of the sky.

The machine exhibited a level of technological sophistication no one dreamed was possible when it was built, at least 2,000 years ago. Europe produced nothing to equal it until the geared clocks of the Medieval period, more than a thousand years later. Some scholars describe the Antikythera Mechanism as the world’s first analog computer. Read more.

In 1900, a worn bronze machine was hauled from an ancient Greek shipwreck. With dozens of crumbling gears, the machine puzzled experts for more than a century. This documentary follows researchers who have come to suspect the machine, known as the Antikythera mechanism, is a miniature planetarium that tracked the Sun and the Moon and could predict eclipses. They have created working models, down to the pin-and-slot mechanism that gives a slight wobble to the lunar orbit, and have used a custom X-ray machine to probe layers of corroded clockwork. The Greeks “managed to cram nearly all their knowledge of astronomy into this small-geared device,” the mathematician Tony Freeth says on-screen. The maker of this “analog computer” — perhaps a thousand years ahead of its time — is still unknown, but some believe it might have been inspired by the work of Archimedes. (via Ancient Clockwork and a New ‘Eco-Drama’ -

Antikythera Mechanism More Ancient Than Believed

The Antikythera mechanism, the ancient clock like device that tracked the cycles of the solar system, is more ancient than it has been estimated so far, according to a new study.

The mechanism, also called the world’s oldest computer by certain scientists, was discovered inside an ancient shipwreck by Greek sponge divers in 1900-1901. After numerous studies, it was estimated to have been constructed between 150 B.C. and 100 B.C. A new study places it at 205 B.C., seven years after the death of Archimedes.

The Antikythera shipwreck in Greece is believed to have happened between 85 B.C. and 60 B.C. History of science professor Christian Carman and physics professor James Evans placed it at 205 B.C. after studying the mechanism and Babylonian records of eclipses. Read more.

The Antikythera mechanism is an early form of analogue computer used for astronomy. It was discovered in the early 20th century and is considered extremely advanced. Dating has placed the mechanism around the 1st century BC and similar levels of technology were not seen again until the 14th century.

Researchers are unsure of the mechanism’s origins and speculate that it may be from a Corinthian colony such as Syracuse or was perhaps from a city further east such as Pergamon in modern day Anatolia.

The mechanism was discovered on a shipwreck and a great deal of mystery surrounds it and it’s origins. One theory is that it was lost when being transported to Rome for the triumph of Julius Caesar. Whatever the case may be, it is an intriguing artefact and a great example of Hellenistic technology and engineering.

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Lego Antikythera Mechanism

Recreation of an ancient greek technology.

TIME TRAVEL REAL? Insane Discovery That Science Can't Explain

The Mystery:


The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient, intricate machine found in a shipwreck near Greece that dates back to about 100 BC. The Antikythera mechanism contains gears and structures that were not found in devices again for 1000 years, and only then when the Muslims and Chinese were busy inventing shit while the Europeans were busy killing each other.

Why Can’t They Solve It?

First, no one can agree on where the Antikythera mechanism was made or who designed it. Popular belief was that it was made by the Greeks due to its instructions all being in Greek (about a million of our tax dollars were probably spent arriving at that genius conclusion) but serious research published in serious places suggested the design came from Sicily.

The mechanism, aside from placing you at serious risk for severing a finger, was supposedly used to figure out astronomical positions. The problem with that is that at the time this thing was made, no one had yet discovered laws of gravity or how heavenly bodies moved.

In other words, the Antikythera mechanism appears to have functions that no one alive at that time would have understood, and no single mechanical purpose of that era (such as navigating ships) explains the crazy number of functions and settings this machine has.

It’s a scrap from a time machine that exploded the moment it arrived in the past

Top Archaeological Finds Expected in 2015

Perhaps already in the first weeks of 2015 we may know the identity of the skeleton found buried beneath a massive mound at Amphipolis in northern Greece.

About a third of a mile in circumference, this is Greece’s largest tomb and dates back to Alexander the Great’s reign in the late fourth century B.C.

The discovery of the human remains came at the end of an extraordinary archaeological exploration that winded through huge decapitated sphinxes, walls guarded by colossal female statues and floors decorated with stunning mosaics.

But archaeologists may do more than revealing who is buried in the mysterious mound. A new geophysical scan of the Kasta Hill, as the Amphipolis mound is known, has identified four areas of “especially high electrical resistance” beneath the massive monument, suggesting that further structures may lie beneath. Read more.


Lego Antikythera Mechanism (by NatureVideoChannel)

The Antikythera mechanism (/ˌæntɨkɨˈθɪərə/ ant-i-ki-theer or /ˌæntɨˈkɪθərə/ ant-i-kith-ə-rə) is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–1901 from theAntikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC.The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock.Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau visited the wreck for the last time in 1978, but found no additional remains of the Antikythera mechanism. Professor Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University who led the most recent study of the mechanism said: “This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has done this has done it extremely carefully … in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa.”

The device is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, accompanied by a reconstruction made and donated to the museum by Derek de Solla Price. Other reconstructions are on display at the American Computer Museumin Bozeman, Montana, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in New York, and in Kassel, Germany.



An ancient shipwreck has yielded new treasures, according to a team of international divers

Divers first discovered the ship in 1900. Researchers think the ship sank more than 2,000 years ago, and was carrying a bride-to-be and her dowry.  

From September 15 to October 7th of this year, divers from the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in Greece and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in the US returned to the site of the ship – off the coast of Antikythera – and found a spear, which they believe to have been part of a statue, among other things

On previous missions, divers recovered bronze and marble statues, glassware, jewelry, and something called the Antikythera Mechanism, a complex gear mechanism.

According to WHOI’s Brendan Foley, some of the most recent discoveries indicate that the ship was very, very large. “The evidence shows this it he largest shipwreck ever discovered,” he said, adding,

It’s the Titanic of the ancient world." 

Most gifs from Antikythera expedition’s YouTube video, mermaid lair via Disney, writing by Danielle Wiener-Bronner. 

Researchers to use exosuit to explore ancient Antikythera wreck

Marine archeologists with the American Museum of Natural History are planning to explore the ancient Greek Antikythera wreck in the Agean Sea, using an exosuit developed by Nuytco Research—originally for use in helping workers in New York’s water treatment facilities. The iron-man looking exosuit allows a diver to descend to 1000 feet for hours at a time without need for decompressing upon returning to the surface.

The Antikythera was discovered by divers in 1900—attempts to explore the wreck resulted in recovery of many artifacts, mostly famously, one that is known as the Antikythera mechanism—now referred to as the world’s oldest computer. But it also led to injury and death due to the extreme depth (120 meters). Subsequent attempts more recently have led to more discoveries, but time constraints have prevented a thorough study of the wreck. Read more.


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