When it was discovered, no one could believe it. It was an object of futuristic precision, albeit a thousand years old. It was found at the bottom of the Aegean Sea in 1901. More than a century later, scientists finally figured out how it worked. The secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism are revealed.
The complex piece of technology was used by the ancient Greeks. It predicted positions and eclipses of the sun, moon and other celestial bodies. It is the first analog computer in history.
Researchers at University College London used three-dimensional X-rays to study it. The lead author of the study is Tony Freeth. He created “the first model that conforms to all physical tests and corresponds to the scientific inscriptions engraved on the mechanism”.
British researchers founded one during the study puzzle of 82 fragments. The Antikythera Mechanism looks like a clock. It has thirty bronze gears that have survived to this day.
The 82 parts do not represent the mechanism in its entirety, as only about a third of the mechanism has survived. The largest fragment is fragment A. It has several bearings, columns and a block. Another piece, called Fragment D, is equipped with a disc, a 63-tooth gear and a plate.
X-rays in 2005 showed several text inscriptions on the back of the mechanism. It was possible to see the calculations of the cycles of Venus and Saturn of 462 and 442 years, respectively. Freeth’s team finally explained how the cycles of these planets were derived. He also succeeded in restoring the cycles of other heavenly bodies.
“We were able to match the evidence in fragments A and D with a mechanism for Venus. It precisely models its 462-year relationship to the planetary period, with the 63-tooth gear playing a crucial role, ”explains researcher David Higgon.
Adam Wojcik, co-author, states that “this is an important theoretical advance in how the cosmos was built into the mechanism”. They plan further studies to uncover all of the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism. They intend to demonstrate its viability using ancient techniques.
This magnificent piece is kept in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens in Greece.