The Antikythera mechanism (IPA:Â*[ËŒÃ¦ntÉªkÉªËˆÎ¸ÉªÉ™rÉ™], an-ti-ki-theer-uh), is an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as the first known mechanical computer) designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete,
in 1901. Subsequent investigation, particularly in 2006, dated it to
about 150â€“100 BC; and hypothesised that it was on board a ship that
sank en route from the Greek island of Rhodes to Rome. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until a thousand years later.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau visited the wreck for the last time in 1978,
but found no more remains of the Antikythera Mechanism. Professor
Michael Edmunds of Cardiff University who led the study of the
mechanism said: "This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of
its kind. The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right. The
way the mechanics are designed just makes your jaw drop. Whoever has
done this has done it extremely carefully." He added: "...in terms of
historic and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being
more valuable than the Mona Lisa."
The device is displayed in the Bronze Collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, accompanied by a reconstruction made and offered to the museum by Derek de Solla Price. Other reconstructions are on display at the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, Montana and the Children's Museum of Manhattan in New York.
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