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Roman shipwreck reveals further secrets

Posted on Sunday, 6 January, 2013 | Comment icon 66 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."

  View: Full article |  Source: USA Today

  Discuss: View comments (66)


Recent comments on this story
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
Not really, all you have to do to understand history is to follow the money. Things are seldom implemented "for the hell of it". They are to achieve a gain. not very often.
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
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
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.
Comment icon #62 Posted by Everdred on 16 February, 2013, 18:30
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).
Comment icon #63 Posted by questionmark on 16 February, 2013, 20:10
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
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.
Comment icon #65 Posted by the L on 18 February, 2013, 12:04
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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