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Re: Antikythera Mechanism

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Apr 3, 2007
      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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