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Roman shipwreck reveals further secrets

Posted on Sunday, 6 January, 2013 | Comment icon 65 comments | News tip by: the L


Image credit: Therese Clutario

 
The shipwreck in which the famous Antikythera mechanism was found may contain more of the devices.

Discovered in 1901, the Antikythera mechanism is an ancient astronomical analog computer believed to be up to 2000 years old. It's complexity and craftsmanship are unparalleled for this time period and it has been the subject of intense study and debate since its discovery. Now marine archaeologists believe that the same shipwreck from which the mechanism was retrieved is actually a lot larger than thought and could contain several more such devices.

"The ship was huge for ancient times," said archaeologist Brendan Foley. "Divers a century ago just couldn't conduct this kind of survey but we were surprised when we realized how big it was." It is now thought that the ship is as long as 160ft, twice the estimation made by the original divers who investigated it.

"Ancient artifacts resembling the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient bronze clockwork astronomical calculator, may rest amid the larger-than-expected Roman shipwreck that yielded the device in 1901."

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 Source: USA Today


  Discuss: View comments (65)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #56 Posted by questionmark on 16 February, 2013, 17:49
The Ancient Greeks and Romans were quite advanced astronomers. They made precise observations and developed astronomical models to explain observed phenomena, including models that dealt with complex problems like retrograde motion. Of course they didn't quite get everything right, but they did remarkable work. And note that water clocks were widespread in antiquity for use with astronomy and other applications. Water clocks were not really precise enough, their dials were adequate to show 20 minutes time lapses and were not as common as you want to make us believe. In all of Greece there was ... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by the L on 16 February, 2013, 17:57
Questionmark do you think my idea have logic in it?
Comment icon #58 Posted by questionmark on 16 February, 2013, 17:57
Oh I suspect its all very complicated, but Roman slavery as an institution disappeared about the same time Christianity became dominant and was replaced by serfdom, a completely different thing. The later abolishments of slavery had to do with places where it had been reintroduced. I think the lack of a need to develop labor-saving institutions and devices was the main reason. Of course a number of inventions, such as the stirrup, the printing press, compasses, and who knows what may also have been necessary precursors. Not really, all you have to do to understand history is to follow the mone... [More]
Comment icon #59 Posted by the L on 16 February, 2013, 17:59
I know we dont agree about many things. I thought on this particular. Could it be that we re construct antikythera mechanism wrongly, could it be that also have had time keeping and with it help sailors to know longitude? Its more logic to have watch on ship then astronomical model.
Comment icon #60 Posted by questionmark on 16 February, 2013, 18:07
I know we dont agree about many things. I thought on this particular. Could it be that we re construct antikythera mechanism wrongly, could it be that also have had time keeping and with it help sailors to know longitude? Its more logic to have watch on ship then astronomical model. yes, could be, and as soon as you have some evidence that it is so please wake me up. But the people working on these things generally are not idiots, and there is nothing to gain by identifying a clock as an astronomical computer.
Comment icon #61 Posted by the L on 16 February, 2013, 18:20
yes, could be, and as soon as you have some evidence that it is so please wake me up. But the people working on these things generally are not idiots, and there is nothing to gain by identifying a clock as an astronomical computer. Because of founded parts they constructed astronomic model doesnt mean that someone couldnt construct a watch. What do you think, what would you bring on the sea, watch or model for study? I dont called those guys idiots. Just that there might be another story. Maps could be evidence. Artifacts. Its strech but still. But I found logic as starting point of my working... [More]
Comment icon #62 Posted by Everdred on 16 February, 2013, 18:30
Water clocks were not really precise enough, their dials were adequate to show 20 minutes time lapses and were not as common as you want to make us believe. In all of Greece there was demonstrably one. And there was a whole new law created for its use and the rights citizens had to inform themselves about the time. After the Greek, the Alexandrian had a water clock 100 years before the first one came to Rome, in 10 AD erected by Augustus in the Campus Martius. Not until Trajan's reign (~100 AD) did it become fashionable to own a clock at all (no matter if sundial or water clock). And the Roman... [More]
Comment icon #63 Posted by questionmark on 16 February, 2013, 20:10
Simple water clocks were perfectly common (a pot with a hole, or two pots of which one had a hole), though obviously the larger more advanced types were rarer and restricted to the upper class. But they were accurate enough for much of the astronomy done in the period, which wasn't really surpassed until Galileo (and he himself used water clocks in his own laboratory, in fact using them to measure the timing of pendulums). Now you surely can quote a classic work about astronomy that required a clock too, can't you?
Comment icon #64 Posted by TheSearcher on 18 February, 2013, 10:11
Because of founded parts they constructed astronomic model doesnt mean that someone couldnt construct a watch. What do you think, what would you bring on the sea, watch or model for study? I dont called those guys idiots. Just that there might be another story. Maps could be evidence. Artifacts. Its strech but still. But I found logic as starting point of my working hypothesis. But people DID construct time pieces in those days, however the mechanism this thread is about is not one of them. This was clearly an astrological mechanism or something that might be used for navigation. The latter be... [More]
Comment icon #65 Posted by the L on 18 February, 2013, 12:04
But people DID construct time pieces in those days, however the mechanism this thread is about is not one of them. This was clearly an astrological mechanism or something that might be used for navigation. The latter being a tad more important on a ship than a time piece, to be honest. Searcher, time keeping IS most important thing for navigation. If you want I can explain it to you. I also recently just found out that.


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