The Ancient Celestial Calculator, Antikythera Mechanism

An ancient shoebox-sized machine known as the Antikythera mechanism is frequently referred to be the world’s oldest computer since it can calculate astronomical computations. The remnants of the mechanisms of the calculator, which were found in 1901 by sponge divers off the Greek island of Antikythera, are currently on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. In a 2021 study that was published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers stated that just 82 pieces, or around one-third of the original mechanism, remain in existence today. Around 2,200 years ago, it was erected.

The Ancient Celestial Calculator, Antikythera MechanismWhat Is the Antikythera Calculator Exactly?

According to the researchers, the calculator could do various computations, follow the motions of the sun, moon, and five other planets, and even predict when sporting events like the Olympics will be held. The researchers described the device as a mechanical computer made of bronze gears that automated astronomical cycles and theories to create astronomical forecasts.

Scholars have been attempting to comprehend the Antikythera mechanism ever since it was discovered. Even though they have come a long way, there are still many unsolved questions. For instance, scientists are still unsure about its maker. Although this is unknown, some academics have proposed that the Greek inventor Archimedes (287 B.C. to 212 B.C.) was the mechanism’s originator. Greek lettering is used in the engravings on the mechanism.

According to the head of the Functional Reconstruction of Antikythera Mechanism (Frame) project Aristeidis Voulgaris, whoever created the calculator would have needed to be extremely knowledgeable in astronomy, metallurgy, and mechanology. The goal of this project is to better understand the mechanism by reconstructing what it originally looked like. He said that they would have required “excellent hand dexterity.”

Writing and inscriptions were found on the mechanism’s recovered fragments, and over the past 20 years, experts have been able to decipher more of these Greek writings by employing advanced imaging techniques including 3D X-ray scanning. They were able to understand more about the operation of the mechanism as a result.

The Antikythera Mechanism Shipwreck

The mechanism may not have been an original invention, but it would undoubtedly have had great usefulness. According to Jones, a technician was most possibly delivering the mechanism of the calculator to its intended user when the ship sank during a storm, taking the mechanism with it. Scholars continue to study and argue over where the ship originated from and where it was headed.