The Antikythera mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient artifact which served as a mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. Uncovered in a ship wreck on 1900–1901, its significance and complexity are poorly understood even to this day. The device is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and its construction has been dated to the early 1st century BC. This fact is in odds with current understandings of mechanical engineering of that time. Artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe.
Although the artifact has seen better days and erosion made its inspection a hard task, the use of modern technology has allowed new findings to surface. The Antikythera mechanism has a over 30 gears that map the movement of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars and perhaps other planets in relation to the earth. Along one of the outside panels we find four divisions that allude to the seasons on earth. The gears also bear marking of the 12 sign zodiac which would compliment its use as an astronomical tool.
The artifact records many cycles of the moon and the sun some extending over 19 years.
The days in a year were also tracked with this machine with such a precision that a slight turn of a crank will adjust the measurements to account for leap years. The
Julian calendar, the first calendar of the region to contain leap years, was not introduced until about 46 BC, up to a century after the device was said to have been built. From all archeologists know of science and technology in the Hellenistic Age they agree that such a device could not exist. Clearly the existence of this device bears evidence of advance technology in ancient times somehow managed to slip through the realm of the common man until the 14 century. A living testament to advanced knowledge that is kept from the average man. Like many strange out of place artifacts the Antikythera mechanism is just another on the list of ancient mysteries of the past.

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One thought on “The Antikythera mechanism

  1. Cynthia

    An interesting device.

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