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Antikythera mechanism

11/22/2016

How does the Antikythera mechanism work? It took over a century to reveal it secrets. At an event held at the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum, Markos Skoulatos explained this fascinating instrument to the numerous guests present. The device is over 2,000 years old and is regarded as an early astrolabe and even as the world’s very first computer. The mechanism was discovered quite by accident by sponge divers in a sunken shipwreck off the coast of Greece in 1900. The interdisciplinary team making up the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project studied the complex clockwork mechanism using 3D tomography and RTI technology.

In his presentation, Markos Skoulatos elucidated the complex construction and its functions. This system of gears is actually an astronomical clock with a sophisticated design and exemplary precision, and was used to predict and track the movement of celestial bodies, the position of stars, sun and moon eclipses, and the Olympiad and other Greek cycle of games. Afterwards, he demonstrated its workings with one of his two functional replicas. Markos Skoulatos’ replicas dating from 2014 are on show at the Clock and Watch Museum until the end of May 2017.