Friday, August 01, 2008

Another Antikythera Mechanism Study

Not quite two years ago, I posted on the Antikythera Mechanism, a Hellenistic Greek "celestial computer" dating to 100 BC, recovered from a Mediterranean shipwreck. It appears to be a metal gear-driven device that allowed the ancient people to track and predict astronomical phenomena. It was recovered from the wreck almost 100 years ago, but modern advances in CT scan technology have allowed researchers to analyse the components found in this corroded mass of metal.

A new study just released reports that experts have been able to decipher inscriptions and reconstruct functions of the bronze gears on the mechanism and have found that the device not only predicted solar eclipses but also organized the calendar in the four-year cycles of the Olympiad. They have also found clues that the mechanism’s concept originated in the colonies of Corinth, possibly Syracuse, which may imply a connection with Archimedes.

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