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Antikythera Mechanism

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  • minnesotastan
    A device found on a Mediterranean shipwreck, it has been extensively discussed and analysed. Often claimed to be the world s first computer , consensus
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 3 7:25 AM
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      A device found on a Mediterranean shipwreck, it has been extensively
      discussed and analysed. Often claimed to be the "world's first
      computer", consensus opinion now among both mainstream and fringe
      archaeology buffs is that it must have been used for astronomical
      measurements.

      The most amazing aspect is the degree of technical sophistication
      achieved 2100 years ago. Here is a good recent summary article -

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1960316,00.html

      Since newspaper links are sometimes evanescent, here's the text (use
      the link for picture)-

      Mysteries of computer from 65BC are solved
      Ian Sample, science correspondent
      Thursday November 30, 2006
      The Guardian

      A 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck
      has astounded scientists who have finally unravelled the secrets of
      how the sophisticated device works.

      The machine was lost among cargo in 65BC when the ship carrying it
      sank in 42m of water off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera.
      By chance, in 1900, a sponge diver called Elias Stadiatos discovered
      the wreck and recovered statues and other artifacts from the site.

      The machine first came to light when an archaeologist working on the
      recovered objects noticed that a lump of rock had a gear wheel
      embedded in it. Closer inspection of material brought up from the
      stricken ship subsequently revealed 80 pieces of gear wheels, dials,
      clock-like hands and a wooden and bronze casing bearing ancient Greek
      inscriptions.

      Since its discovery, scientists have been trying to reconstruct the
      device, which is now known to be an astronomical calendar capable of
      tracking with remarkable precision the position of the sun, several
      heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon. Experts believe it to be
      the earliest-known device to use gear wheels and by far the most
      sophisticated object to be found from the ancient and medieval periods.

      Using modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface
      scanning, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff
      University peered inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism and
      read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of
      the machine. Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates back
      to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the
      movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict eclipses
      and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon. The motion, known
      as the first lunar anomaly, was developed by the astronomer Hipparcus
      of Rhodes in the 2nd century BC, and he may have been consulted in the
      machine's construction, the scientists speculate.

      Remarkably, scans showed the device uses a differential gear, which
      was previously believed to have been invented in the 16th century. The
      level of miniaturisation and complexity of its parts is comparable to
      that of 18th century clocks.

      Some researchers believe the machine, known as the Antikythera
      Mechanism, may have been among other treasure looted from Rhodes that
      was en route to Rome for a celebration staged by Julius Caesar.

      One of the remaining mysteries is why the Greek technology invented
      for the machine seemed to disappear. No other civilisation is believed
      to have created anything as complex for another 1,000 years. One
      explanation could be that bronze was often recycled in the period the
      device was made, so many artefacts from that time have long ago been
      melted down and erased from the archaelogical record. The fateful
      sinking of the ship carrying the Antikythera Mechanism may have
      inadvertently preserved it. "This device is extraordinary, the only
      thing of its kind," said Professor Edmunds. "The astronomy is exactly
      right ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard
      this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa." The
      research, which appears in the journal Nature today, was carried out
      with scientists at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens where
      the mechanism is held and the universities of Athens and Thessaloniki.
    • Susan
      Great article, Stan, A date of 100-150 BC. can see how the ancient computer could be even more valuable than the Mona Lisa. Crichton Miller s post #1892 at the
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 3 4:10 PM
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        Great article, Stan,

        A date of 100-150 BC. can see how the ancient computer could be even
        more valuable than the Mona Lisa. Crichton Miller's post #1892 at the
        THOR site makes reference to ancient computers. I don't recall this
        particular web link at that site and do believe you letter would also
        be of interest there. Especially, reference that the device "....is
        now known to be an astronomical calendar capable of tracking with
        remarkable precision the position of the sun, several heavenly bodies
        and the phases of the moon..."

        THOR site: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/thor-thehuntersohiorock/
        Also check out magnificant photos of the crystal cave in post #1904.

        Susan

        --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "minnesotastan"
        <minnesotastan@...> wrote:
        >
        > A device found on a Mediterranean shipwreck, it has been extensively
        > discussed and analysed. Often claimed to be the "world's first
        > computer", consensus opinion now among both mainstream and fringe
        > archaeology buffs is that it must have been used for astronomical
        > measurements.
        >
        > The most amazing aspect is the degree of technical sophistication
        > achieved 2100 years ago. Here is a good recent summary article -
        >
        > http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1960316,00.html
        >
        > Since newspaper links are sometimes evanescent, here's the text (use
        > the link for picture)-
        >
        > Mysteries of computer from 65BC are solved
        > Ian Sample, science correspondent
        > Thursday November 30, 2006
        > The Guardian
        >
        > A 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck
        > has astounded scientists who have finally unravelled the secrets of
        > how the sophisticated device works.
        >
        > The machine was lost among cargo in 65BC when the ship carrying it
        > sank in 42m of water off the coast of the Greek island of
        Antikythera.
        > By chance, in 1900, a sponge diver called Elias Stadiatos discovered
        > the wreck and recovered statues and other artifacts from the site.
        >
        > The machine first came to light when an archaeologist working on the
        > recovered objects noticed that a lump of rock had a gear wheel
        > embedded in it. Closer inspection of material brought up from the
        > stricken ship subsequently revealed 80 pieces of gear wheels, dials,
        > clock-like hands and a wooden and bronze casing bearing ancient
        Greek
        > inscriptions.
        >
        > Since its discovery, scientists have been trying to reconstruct the
        > device, which is now known to be an astronomical calendar capable of
        > tracking with remarkable precision the position of the sun, several
        > heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon. Experts believe it to be
        > the earliest-known device to use gear wheels and by far the most
        > sophisticated object to be found from the ancient and medieval
        periods.
        >
        > Using modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface
        > scanning, a team led by Mike Edmunds and Tony Freeth at Cardiff
        > University peered inside fragments of the crust-encased mechanism
        and
        > read the faintest inscriptions that once covered the outer casing of
        > the machine. Detailed imaging of the mechanism suggests it dates
        back
        > to 150-100 BC and had 37 gear wheels enabling it to follow the
        > movements of the moon and the sun through the zodiac, predict
        eclipses
        > and even recreate the irregular orbit of the moon. The motion, known
        > as the first lunar anomaly, was developed by the astronomer
        Hipparcus
        > of Rhodes in the 2nd century BC, and he may have been consulted in
        the
        > machine's construction, the scientists speculate.
        >
        > Remarkably, scans showed the device uses a differential gear, which
        > was previously believed to have been invented in the 16th century.
        The
        > level of miniaturisation and complexity of its parts is comparable
        to
        > that of 18th century clocks.
        >
        > Some researchers believe the machine, known as the Antikythera
        > Mechanism, may have been among other treasure looted from Rhodes
        that
        > was en route to Rome for a celebration staged by Julius Caesar.
        >
        > One of the remaining mysteries is why the Greek technology invented
        > for the machine seemed to disappear. No other civilisation is
        believed
        > to have created anything as complex for another 1,000 years. One
        > explanation could be that bronze was often recycled in the period
        the
        > device was made, so many artefacts from that time have long ago been
        > melted down and erased from the archaelogical record. The fateful
        > sinking of the ship carrying the Antikythera Mechanism may have
        > inadvertently preserved it. "This device is extraordinary, the only
        > thing of its kind," said Professor Edmunds. "The astronomy is
        exactly
        > right ... in terms of historic and scarcity value, I have to regard
        > this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa." The
        > research, which appears in the journal Nature today, was carried out
        > with scientists at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens
        where
        > the mechanism is held and the universities of Athens and
        Thessaloniki.
        >
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