The Antikythera Device

In 1900, a sponge diver found the wreck of an ancient ship off the coast of Antikythera. A stunning archaeological find, the ship dated from about 72 BCE. Among it’s hoards of treasures lay something astonishing: an analog computer. Constructed of dozens of intricately placed gears, the Antikythera mechanism was intended to show the movement of celestial bodies over time. While sophisticated mathematically, this was the only evidence ever uncovered that the ancient Greeks were also mechanically skilled. The device was studied in depth by Derek J. de Solla Price who published his findings in the June 1959 Scientific American: “Among the treasures of the Greek National Archaeological Museum in Athens are the remains of the most complex scientific object that has been preserved from antiquity. Corroded and crumbling from 2,000 years under the sea, its dials, gear wheels and inscribed plates present the historian with a tantalizing problem. Because of them we may have to revise many of our estimates of Greek science.”

1 Responses to The Antikythera Device

  1. Elkit says:

    Wow! Great photos and stories. I could hang out here for most of the blogathon.

    Hey, don’t forget to stretch. See you over at ergocise in five.