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Archaeology & History

Scientists to recreate 2,000-year-old 'computer'

By T.K. Randall
March 13, 2021 · Comment icon 16 comments

The device was remarkably complex for its time. Image Credit: Tony Freeth / UCL
3D computer modelling has enabled researchers to build up an image of the enigmatic Antikythera Mechanism.
Generally considered to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time, the remarkable 2,000-year-old mechanism is believed to be a form of early astronomical computer.

How the ancient Greeks developed the device, which is filled with a staggeringly intricate array of bronze gears, remains something of a mystery - especially given the time period it was built in.

Originally retrieved from a shipwreck by sponge divers, the mechanism was found alongside an array of other artefacts including coins, jewelry, pottery and statue fragments.
Now, 120 years after its discovery, this mysterious ancient 'computer' has been brought to life like never before by scientists at University College London who used 3D computer modelling to recreate the device's entire front panel in stunning detail.

"The Sun, Moon and planets are displayed in an impressive tour de force of ancient Greek brilliance," wrote study author Professor Tony Freeth.

"Ours is the first model that conforms to all the physical evidence and matches the descriptions in the scientific inscriptions engraved on the mechanism itself."

Eventually, the team hopes to produce a full-size, working replica of the original device.

Source: BBC News | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Abramelin 3 years ago
Maybe you should google "Heron of Alexandria" to find out what people invented some 2000 years ago. And all that without the help of any 'aliens'...
Comment icon #8 Posted by Hyperionxvii 3 years ago
Never really researched it much myself, but I seem to remember discussion about it being some sort of navigation instrument. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by jethrofloyd 3 years ago
A secret navigation instrument from the Atlantis?
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hyperionxvii 3 years ago
Probably, although not sure why they'd need it since the aliens were obviously providing navigation for them. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by keithisco 3 years ago
It has
Comment icon #12 Posted by Cookie Monster 3 years ago
They had railways and steam engines. Unfortunately they never build a steam engine powerful enough to pull anything so used horse drawn carts on the rails.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Abramelin 3 years ago
But whatever 'miracles' they did accomplish is usually attributed to the intervention of 'aliens' by those who are convinced they do not need to think twice. There is a thread about Roman stone saws. Just an example.  
Comment icon #14 Posted by ted hughes 3 years ago
It has, several times. I had to double-check the date of this story, it is run every 10 years or so.
Comment icon #15 Posted by acute 3 years ago
What's the point in replicating it? You wouldn't be able to get the right batteries for it these days. 
Comment icon #16 Posted by Eldorado 2 years ago
In March 2021 my group at University College London, known as the UCL Antikythera Research Team, published a new analysis of the machine. The team includes me (a mathematician and filmmaker); Adam Wojcik (a materials scientist); Lindsay MacDonald (an imaging scientist); Myrto Georgakopoulou (an archaeometallurgist); and two graduate students, David Higgon (a horologist) and Aris Dacanalis (a physicist). Our paper posits a new explanation for the gearing on the front of the mechanism, where the evidence had previously been unresolved. We now have an even better appreciation for the sophisticati... [More]

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