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But wait, there’s more…

Divers around the area where the Antikythera Mechanism was found have discovered what they believe to be another piece of it. In fact, there have been continuous diving expeditions to the wreck site, official and otherwise, and all sorts of interesting things have come out of the water (though nothing as spectacular as this).

To refresh: in 1909, Greek sponge divers brought found a bunch of things on a 2,000 year old wreck near the island of Antikythera, including an unremarkable chunk of crap. Many years later, someone thought to x-ray the chunk of crap and discovered it was the corroded remains of a small, incredibly complex gear-driven analogue celestial computer.

The image above is an exploded view via computer model of what they think it looked like. Some of the structure is speculative, but quite a lot of it has been confirmed to be present and to work.

From the first link above (which is a very interesting article; you should read it):

The Mechanism could do not only basic math: with dozens of exquisitely worked cogwheels, it could calculate the movements of the sun and moon, predict eclipses and equinoxes, and could be used to track the solar system planets, the constellations, and much more.

We may never know how many cogwheels the original Antikythera Mechanism had. Assessments based on its functions in predicting the behavior of the cosmos range from 37 to over 70. For comparison, the most advanced Swiss watches have four cogwheels.

They don’t know exactly what the new bit is. It looks like a backplate of some kind. Under x-ray, there’s an etched image of a bull, so it may have something to do with the constellation of Taurus. It may not even be part of the famous mechanism, but it is metallurgically similar. Was there more than one?

There were all kinds of other things on the wreck I hadn’t heard of before; it was a huge ship. Like 50 life-sized statues of Homeric figures, and the wreck happened at a time when they think Homer had gone out of style. Antiques Roadshow, Ancient Greek Edition? Who knows?

And don’t tell me the Mechanism was the one and only calculating machine they had. Complex technologies don’t spring out of nowhere as a one-off. How much mind-blowing stuff has been completely lost to history…?


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: November 14, 2018, 8:59 pm

But…could it do conversion from GMT to LCT with day light savings for US Central Time!
Could I use it to view statuzez of ancient cats doing entertaining things!?
Could I use it to get into arguments with people I’ve never met?

I think not!

Sometimes tech does die, because it’s ‘secret’.

If you consider the mechanism fantastic, consider who might have been on board when the ship went down.
And that might explain why the tech was lost.

Extra cool article and links. Thank you 😀

St. Jacques Cousteau wrecked and looted it!????? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? That’s like saying Winnie the Pooh is a NAZI! Sacrilege!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 14, 2018, 9:32 pm

You mean you didn’t know? Christopher Robin was an SS Obersturmbannführer and as for Piglet…

Comment from Ben
Time: November 14, 2018, 10:55 pm

Here’s a guy making a replica one from scratch

It’s a truly excellent channel.

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: November 15, 2018, 1:18 am

Not sayin’ it’s aliens, but…well…no. No, this time it’s not aliens.

Comment from Jasonius
Time: November 15, 2018, 1:53 am

Nice link Ben.

I now have entertainment for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

And thank you Stoaty, your site is part of my required daily visit list for shiny and interesting bits and bobs from the interwebs and of course chikken content.

This reminded me of some nice US Navy Training films detailing pre-silicon analog fire control machines:


(Sorry, don’t know how to make it a clickable)

That is one, the guy who posted them has several more training films posted detailing various other parts of the calculating engine. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have made a playlist tying them all together.

I sometimes fancy myself as relatively technically minded and capable but this type of stuff (the greek clock as well as the analog fire control) makes me think I should keep to something more my speed. World needs swineherds too, amirite?

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: November 15, 2018, 2:42 am

It might not have been unique, but still, as far as I know, nothing else like it from that timeframe has ever been found. Also, no earlier “precursor” versions. It is a fascinating archeological mystery.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: November 15, 2018, 2:19 pm

We’re so used to mass production, we forget that it’s a recent phenomenon. As an example British Enfield rifles from the Civil War era were ‘sort of’ mass produced, but they weren’t precision and the parts were often filed to fit, making every rifle unique in that the parts weren’t precisely interchangeable.

Now consider the cogs and gears in that device, crafted by hand for each mechanism and it begins to become more reasonable that there weren’t a lot of them around.

Also, people who would go around smashing the noses off statues and such probably wouldn’t have been impressed with bronze doohickeys they couldn’t figure out why to use, let alone how to use.

It’s about the equivalent of giving a cell phone to a peasant from the Middle Ages.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: November 15, 2018, 3:46 pm



This reminded me of some nice US Navy Training films detailing pre-silicon analog fire control machines:


(Sorry, don’t know how to make it a clickable)

It isn’t that hard. Here’s the HTML code:

Click <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD2dtAqJcJ4">HERE</a> to watch the video.

That will show up like this:

Click HERE to watch the video.


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: November 15, 2018, 5:43 pm

unkawill wins the Celebrity DeadPool:

Roy Linwood Clark (born April 15, 1933 – November 15, 2018) was an American singer and musician.

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