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October 04, 2006

Antikythera Mechanism conference this fall

photo of the Antikythera Mechanism

Just over a century ago, an archeologist investigating an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Greece made an astonishing discovery. Buried in the sea bottom, heavily encrusted with scale and coral, was some sort of complex mechanical computing device. The device, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, has been the subject of study and speculation ever since. With a creation date of approximately 80 B.C., it's one of the world's oldest known geared devices, with more than 30 gears, some of them in a differential gear arrangement that wouldn't be seen again until the 16th century. It appears to be some sort of astronomical calculator, used for figuring out the position of the planets, but there's no definitive proof of that.

CT scan of the Antikythera MechanismOr is there? Later this autumn there will be a two-day conference in Athens devoted to the Antikythera Mechanism. At the conference researchers will report on the most advanced analysis of the Mechanism ever performed, using X-ray based tomography, and on what the hell they think the Antikythera Mechanism was actually used for.

If you want to get the latest on the Mechanism (and you aren't planning on a trip to Greece at the end of November) you can sign up for the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project's mailing list.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at October 4, 2006 12:20 PM


just a science lover and would love to hear the news that comes out of the november conference this amazing artifact!

Posted by: cary at October 14, 2006 11:48 AM

I have always suspected that there was civilizations before ours with technology.

Posted by: Tony at October 14, 2006 12:25 PM