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The Antikythera

Mechanism

THE SHIPWRECK

The ship sank near the island of Antikythera,


near Crete around 82 B.C.

Discovered by sponge diver, Elias Stadiatos,


in 1900

Found several bronze and marble statues

Salvaged the wreck over 1 year

Arcaheologist, Valerios Staisd iscovered the


mechanism in 1902

Was originally mistaken for a rock

THE MECHANISM

Corroded bronze plates in a frame of


decaying wood.

3 main parts (now 7) with dozens of


smaller pieces (now 75).

17cm (6.75in) X 9cm (3.5in) X 33 cm


(13in)

Cleaned over decades.

DEREK DE SOLLA PRICE

1951- Took over the investigation.

1971- Price and Karakalos made radiographs of


the mechanism, using gamma rays and x-rays.

Able to view the interior (30 gears).

Found highly complex mechanical technology.

PRICE RECONSTRUCTION

1980s- Robert Deroski makes a model


based on Prices designs.

System of differential and epicyclic gears


calculate lunar and synodic months over 4
year cycles.

Front dial (w/ Zodia): progression of moon


and sun

Rear dial (upper): 4 year period

Rear dial (lower): solitary synodic month

Accompanying dial shows entire lunar year


(12 synodic months)

BROMLEY AND PERCIVAL RECONSTRUCTION

Gap in the mechanism that held several


missing gears.

One gear train had 15 and 63 that Price


altered to 16 and 64.

Cycle is actually 4 years long, not 4.

4 cycles is 18 years (cycle of eclipses).

Each square equals a new moon.

THE AMRP

Started in 2005 and is ongoing.

Several groups involved, including Cardiff


Universities.

Tech support provided by X-Tek Systems,


Hewlett Packard, and others.

Used advanced x-rays, polynomial texture


mapping, and computed tomography.

Able to translate 95% of the inscriptions.

INSCRIPTIONS

Front: days, months, zodiac signs, and a


parapegma (star reference).

Rear: 5 dials present- Metonic (19 year cycle),


Olympiad (Olympic Games), Callippic (quadruples
metonic), Saros (18 year cycle, eclipses), and
Exeligmos (triples saros).

Inscriptions on doors are instructions for use.

WRIGHT RECONSTRUCTION

Mechanism was also an orrery, used to calculate


planetary positions and motions.

5 known planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and


Saturn

An extra gear used for moon phases should be


present.

Rear Dial (Upper): Displayed the metonic cycle (235


synodic months or 19 years).

Rear Dial (Lower): Displayed the callippic cycle (4


cycles of 19 years, equalling 76 years).

Pin and slot shows variation in moons angular


velocity.

THEORIES

Ancient tradition of complex mechanical


technology.

Accepted heliocentrism, 1500 years before


Copernicus and Galileo.

Of Greek origin, but on a Roman ship. Spoil of


war? Transported from city to city?

Built on Rhodes, a hub for astronomy and


mechanical engineering.

Not one man, but by several.

Wasnt the only mechanism.

recently constructed by our friend Posidonius,


which at each revolution reproduces the same
motions of the sun, the moon, and the 5 planets
(Cicero).