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The Antikythera Mechanism: An Astonishing Invention from Ancient Greece | The 1st Analogue Computer

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Published on 06 Dec 2023 / In News and Politics

In Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, they embark on a quest for the missing pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism. They also say it was built by Archimedes during the time of the Battle of Syracuse around 212 BCE, and that it has powers to travel through time. Reality? I think not!

This is the real story of the Antikythera Mechanism. The first underwater archaeological investigation, the oldest known analogue computer and the only scientific instrument that has survived from the Hellenistic era.

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RESOURCES
Antikythera Mechanism, the Oldest Computer and Mechanical Cosmos 2nd century BC by Xenophon Moussas. School of Physics and Astronomy University of Birmingham 2014

A portable cosmos, Revealing the Antikythera Mechanism, Scientific Wonder of the Ancient World, Alexander Jones, Oxford University Press 2017

Improved X-ray computed tomography reconstruction of the largest fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient Greek astronomical calculator
Ashkan Pakzad, Francesco Iacoviello, Andrew Ramsey, Robert Speller, Jennifer Griffiths, Tony Freeth, Adam Gibson Published online 2018 Nov 9. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207430

Gears from the Greeks : the Antikythera mechanism : a calendar computer from ca. 80 B.C., Derek de Solla Price., 1975

The Antikythera shipwreck : the ship, the treasures, the mechanism : National Archaeological Museum, April 2012-April 2013 / editors, Nikolaos Kaltsas, Elena Vlachogianni, Polyxeni Bouyia.

Decoding an Ancient Computer: Greek Technology Tracked the Heavens
New explorations have revealed how the Antikythera mechanism modeled lunar motion and predicted eclipses, among other sophisticated tricks, Tony Freeth on December 1, 2009 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/decoding-an-ancient-computer/

Freeth, T. Revising the eclipse prediction scheme in the Antikythera mechanism. Palgrave Commun 5, 7 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-018-0210-9 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-018-0210-9#citeas

Freeth, T., Higgon, D., Dacanalis, A. et al. A Model of the Cosmos in the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism. Sci Rep 11, 5821 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84310-w https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-84310-w#citeas

The Cosmos in the Antikythera Mechanism by Tony Freeth and Alexander Jones 2012 http://dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/4/

https://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/

Efstathiou, K., & Efstathiou, M. (2018). Celestial Gearbox. Mechanical Engineering, 140(09), 31. doi:10.1115/1.2018-sep1

Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism: Investigation of an Ancient
Astronomical Calculator by T. Freeth, Y. Bitsakis, X. Moussas, et al. Nature, Volume 444, Issue 7119, pp. 587-591 (2006).

The Antikythera mechanism was an astronomical calculating machine, where you can set a date via the calendars, and it will then show you where all the planets would be, the orbit and phases of the moon, and the eclipse cycle. When the mechanism was first identified, the initial belief was that it was used for navigation, especially because it was found on a ship. Another theory is that the device was made for demonstrative or teaching purposes, not for astronomers who would have needed a much more precise machine to calculate fractions of days and more minute occurrences such as the varying lengths of days and nights.

The very existence of the Antikythera Mechanism proves that the ancient Greeks had a deeper understanding and mastery of astronomy than we could have possibly imagined. A knowledge that rivalled science that was being conducted in the 16th century Even scholars who spent their lives studying it have stated that it’s a level of technology that in their mind, couldn’t have existed. But yet, here it is, and verified to have been made within the Hellenistic age.

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#underwaterarchaeology #Archaeology #ancientgreece #ancienthistory #antikytheramechanism

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