Wednesday 19 February 2014

The Antikythera device

About a hundred years ago while diving for sponges a weird mechanism was found by  fishermen at the bottom of the sea near the Greek island of Antikythera. It astonished the  then experts on the ancient world. They thought at first that it was an astrolabe. Then it was thought to be an Orrery or possibly an astronomical clock.

For the next fifty years, scientific investigation carried out on the object failed to find a solution and relied more on guesswork than anything else. However more recent research over the last half century has slowly begun to reveal its secrets. 

The device dates from around the end of the 2nd century B.C. so it is around 2200 years old. The device is with out any doubt the most sophisticated mechanism known from that time period in the ancient world. There has not been another device anything like as complex for another thousand years. 

The Antikythera device is now believed to be dedicated to astronomical phenomena. Operating as a complex mechanical "computer" which tracks the cycles of the Solar System.

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