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Ancient Mysteries

Antikythera divers seek mechanism remains

August 29, 2015 | Comment icon 95 comments



The Antikythera mechanism on display at a museum. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Marsyas
A new expedition in Greece is hoping to discover more fragments of the mysterious Antikythera mechanism.
Generally considered to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time, the remarkable 2,000-year-old device is believed to be a form of early astronomical computer.

Discovered within a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, the mechanism was found alongside a number of other artefacts including coins, jewelry, pottery and statue fragments.

Now in the hope of finding more pieces of the mechanism a team of archaeologists is preparing to return to the shipwreck for the first time since bad weather thwarted their efforts last year.
It has even been speculated that the ship could have been carrying not one but two separate mechanisms that were used together to help ancient seafarers predict the motion of the planets.

Whether the expedition divers will be able to find the second one however remains to be seen.

"We were shocked to discover the wreck was much larger than earlier work had indicated - 30 to 50 meters long," said expedition leader Brendan Foley.

"The hull timbers were 11cm thick. This would make the wreck bigger than the pleasure barges Caligula built for his artificial lake and they were the largest Roman era ships known."

Source: News.com.au | Comments (95)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #86 Posted by questionmark 7 years ago
Well, I like to think I am reasonably intelligent, but from my own observations I would never think the earth was anything but fairly flat - I would never deduce it is a sphere. Which comes to show that you are not observing anything... maybe not even seeing anything but you prejudices. The first to pretty accurately calculate the circumference of the Earth, a certain Mr. Strabo (somewhere between 60 BC and 20 AD) could do so by simply observing that the shadow of an Egyptian standard obelisk was larger in Alexandria then in Aswan. And he got it within a few thousand miles.
Comment icon #87 Posted by alibongo 7 years ago
Which comes to show that you are not observing anything... maybe not even seeing anything but you prejudices. The first to pretty accurately calculate the circumference of the Earth, a certain Mr. Strabo (somewhere between 60 BC and 20 AD) could do so by simply observing that the shadow of an Egyptian standard obelisk was larger in Alexandria then in Aswan. And he got it within a few thousand miles. I also would never deduce the earth was not the centre of the universe and the sun did not orbit around it.And I could never estimate the distance the sun and moon are away from the earth- left to ... [More]
Comment icon #88 Posted by questionmark 7 years ago
I also would never deduce the earth was not the centre of the universe and the sun did not orbit around it.And I could never estimate the distance the sun and moon are away from the earth- left to my own devices I would guess a couple of miles. I also would not think of making glass from sand, concrete from whatever the Romans used, and using ore to make metal objects, which was discovered in the Bronze Age, and later combining metals to make alloys. Left to my own devices, if I was born in the Stone Age, I would still be there! as would most people, that is why some are geniuses and most othe... [More]
Comment icon #89 Posted by sepulchrave 7 years ago
Well, I like to think I am reasonably intelligent, but from my own observations... Just remember that the circumstances of your education were radically different than those of the ancients. For example, we learn geometry in grade school as a stepping stone to algebra and trigonometry, which leads to calculus, which progresses into several high-level areas of mathematics... I suspect you wouldn't think of a means to measure the circumference of the Earth, or the distance to the Moon, because you haven't really learned geometry. To most of us, geometry is just something we need to get through i... [More]
Comment icon #90 Posted by Harte 7 years ago
Well steriologist,I may be mistaken about the ancient Greeks being able to weigh the moon.I probably misremembered that they could weigh the earth, which they did. Which Ancient Greek weighed the Earth? Measuring isn't weighing. Well, I like to think I am reasonably intelligent, but from my own observations I would never think the earth was anything but fairly flat - I would never deduce it is a sphere. You don't live on the beach, do you? Harte
Comment icon #91 Posted by Flashbangwallop 7 years ago
I don't think that the maths - calculations would have been beyond the ancients for making the device. However when looking at mass producing such an item or indeed a machine to make the machine then there has to be a number of other supporting factors. (A lot of other people working on the different parts. Drawings which could be translated by others and so on.) Either that or someone who is brave enough and time rich enough to sit copying the original articals day in day out. Passing through India way back in time when the earth was much larger circa 1966. I was astounded by what a man could... [More]
Comment icon #92 Posted by questionmark 7 years ago
Passing through India way back in time when the earth was much larger circa 1966. I was astounded by what a man could do with a bunch of files and a vise formed by his feet. Also that they could cut saphires into very fine wafers to rip off tourists who thought they had a pukker gem. The technology and the techniques existed at the time, the knowledge existed at the time and skilled artisans existed at the time. Therefore there is no reason to doubt that somebody at the time could have devised and built the thingy. That there were not more just shows that it was either incredibly expensive (ve... [More]
Comment icon #93 Posted by Mangoze 7 years ago
The ancient Greeks knew the Earth was a sphere. Most educated philosphers in antiquity knew the Earth was spherical. ... And sailors too
Comment icon #94 Posted by Mangoze 7 years ago
It is astonishing to believe that this 2000 yr old object cannot be understood by modern scientists. Hi, I've read some information before that is not consistent with your comment. I've taken a while to locate it; but here it is... 4.3 The mechanism of Antikythera This mechanism is considered as the progenitor of modern computers and has been deeply studied by a number of scientists in the last decades. Some people assume that this is an out of place artifact but it is not: the Mechanism of Antikythera is a very brilliant work of its era; together with other devices presented in this book, it ... [More]
Comment icon #95 Posted by stereologist 7 years ago
Well steriologist,I may be mistaken about the ancient Greeks being able to weigh the moon.I probably misremembered that they could weigh the earth, which they did. Of course they did not understand the theory of gravity or distinguish between mass and weight as far as I believe, but what they did is pretty astonishing. You provided evidence that they measured distances, not mass or weight. They are very different measures. The shape of the Earth was well known to be a sphere. The shadow of the Earth on the Moon during an eclipse tells us the shape of the Earth. The Greeks knew that. Did the Gr... [More]


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