The Antikythera Mechanism: The 2,000-Year-Old Computer
Just over 2,000 odd years ago, Greek scientists created the world’s first computer. Is this a typo within our article? Nope. The story behind this strange and extraordinary mechanism has several hidden mysteries.
The popular and well known Antikythera Mechanism has actually been the core base of research, exceeding a century of learning. The complex device was actually uncovered in the year 1901, near the island of Antikythera, Greece. This was found in a horrific shipwreck, and was discovered accidentally by sponge divers.
While investigating the wreckage of the old ship, the divers saw flasks, coins and statues, which dated back between 100-150 B.C. These statues provided valuable information about the traditional commercial artwork and trading during the Hellenistic period. Other items found within the abandon shipwreck were bronze, marble statues and glassware, and golden jewelry. To much their surprise, researchers focused most of their time upon a strange and complex device in which was also found within this wreckage, one that we would know as ‘The Antikythera Mechanism.’
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A device in which once was proclaimed as an antique, was actually finally recognized as ‘The Ancestor of Modern Computers.’ The Antikythera Mechanism is a very precise instrument that was constructed by the ancient Greek scientists. They created such an instrument in order to better understand and explore astronomical and scientific purposes.
The integrity design of this complex mechanism consists of aligned wheels, spokes, and cogs made up of a metal substance. The Antikythera Mechanism allowed the Ancient Greeks the ability to predict eclipses, astronomical positions, and even the movements of various stars as well as planets.
In 2005, academic researchers created the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (AMRP). The concept is a project collaboration with the University of Cardiff, the University of Thessalonica, the University of Athens, the NBG Cultural Foundation and the contribution of the Hellenic Ministry of Coulter. With several collaborators, there is one aim: the main goal of this project is to solve the puzzle; reassessing the ancient mechanism’s functions and significance. And yes, high-tech companies support their work as well.
Using the latest and greatest technologies known on the market, researchers strive every day to decode the precious information from this spectacular artifact. It appears that every time they attempt to solve this case, the three-dimensional structure of the device, as well as surface inscription, continues to baffle even the brightest of researchers. It is said that more than one terabyte of data consisting of digital photographs, surface imaging, and X-Rays, have been collected over the years. The information is available in a digital archive for future researchers.
A paper was published in the science journal Nature, which on July 31st in 2008, revealed the existence of the month names of Corinthian origin on the mechanism. This supports the idea that the mechanism was in fact from a Corinthian colony located in the Western Hellenic World.
This is still an ongoing project, which will no doubt continue to present us with emerging information on a regular basis. New research on the Antikythera shipwreck site started in 2014, hopefully to reveal new information on the use of the world’s first computer.
Watch a YouTube video about “Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism.”