Antikythera Mechanism

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Antikythera Mechanism is a very rare and unusual artifact that was recovered by divers from the Antikythera wreck in 1900 off the coast of an island near Crete. During their expedition the divers had uncovered a number of bronze and marble statues before coming across a piece of corroded bronze that contained the mechanism. Despite suffering from corrosion the mechanism was sufficiently intact to determine that it was something special.

A Complex Mechanism

Believed to date back to between 80BC-150BC the mechanism appears to be made up of a series of gears and wheels and demonstrates a level of complexity unheard of for its time – modern equivalents wouldn’t appear for another 1300 years. X-rays of the mechanism revealed a differential gearing system.

Purpose

It is believed that the device was actually used for calculating the motions of stars and planets and that it was created in the Greek speaking world however the specifics of exactly who created it and how widespread such technology was 2000 years ago and beyond remains a mystery.