Antikythera Mechanism – History, Discovery, Reconstruction Information

Antikythera is the location of the 1900 discovery of the Antikythera wreck, from which the Antikythera mechanism was recovered. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical calculator (sometimes described as the first mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions which has been dated to about 205 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until a thousand years later.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek hand-powered orrery (see NOTE below), described as the oldest example of an analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games. This artifact was among wreckage retrieved from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera in 1901.

NOTE 1: The Antikythera mechanism was the first reliable navigation aid for ships traveling long distances. Its loss in the approximate 205 BC Antikythera Shipwreck was a catastrophic loss to safe nautical navigation for thousands of years.

NOTE 2: An orrery is a mechanical model of the Solar System that shows the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons according to the heliocentric (Sun-centered) model.

Guardian article regarding Antikythera Mechanism
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